Talk:Sino-Roman relations

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Featured article Sino-Roman relations is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on April 18, 2017.

X-Y relations[edit]

There are many articles which follow the X-Y relations naming structure. As this is a more specific area than Sino-Roman relations shouldn't this article first be moved there and appropriately expanded - once that article is saturated (broad and roughly 32kb) a new article under this title may be started (with the current content and more) on this specific area? --Oldak Quill 22:52, 20 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Caspian castaways[edit]

The context claims these Indi as evidence for the Northeast Passage and the northward strait out of the Caspian Sea;

What does that mean? That there was a connection from the Caspian to the Arctic? --Error 9 July 2005 00:59 (UTC)

Most of the ancients believed there was such a passage, of those who thought about it at all. Septentrionalis 13:56, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
This article makes the case that they were actually Native Americans. Kuralyov 9 July 2005 01:07 (UTC)



This page appears to have been originally written using AD/BC (except perhaps for the mention of Augustus). It concerns no religious topic, and the labels are essential for clarity. Changing to CE/BCE is the abusive form of political correctness; please just leave things alone. Wikipedia is inconsistent. Septentrionalis 13:56, 27 July 2005 (UTC)

I don't know what article you're looking at, but this one was certainly started using BCE/CE, as can be seen quite clearly in the history [1]. It is User:Jguk who changed BCE/CE to BC/AD here [2]. Sortan 15:34, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
Sortan is a sockpuppet used to troll on this issue, as a check on his user contributions will prove. Please do not feed the trolls, jguk 17:30, 27 July 2005 (UTC)
He may be a sockpuppet, but he still seems to be right. Look at the page's history. (Or was it originally copied over from a different source?) — LlywelynII 03:02, 6 December 2013 (UTC)


I just reverted an edit by (Contributions) to return to the earlier dating style on this page.

Per the Manual of Style, "When either of two styles are acceptable it is inappropriate for a Wikipedia editor to change from one style to another unless there is some substantial reason for the change." Since there was no compelling reason for this change, I reverted it back and recommend review the MOS before making such changes in the future. *Septegram*Talk*Contributions* 18:29, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Quite so, but the original (and overall stable) usage of the page has been CE/BCE. Personally, I hate it, too, but that doesn't enter into it. — LlywelynII 03:02, 6 December 2013 (UTC)


Just to clarify the discussion above and the edit summaries that have been left before, the original usage of this page was established by this edit. That usage was BCE and CE and it should be maintained consistently pending a new consensus. — LlywelynII 03:02, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

I agree and have (belatedly) fixed this. --John (talk) 06:40, 20 April 2017 (UTC)

Embassies and Silk Route[edit]

Just in passing, the embassies to China merely claimed to be embassies from Rome. There is no evidence they were embassies from Rome. Anyone mind if I change it to make that clear? The Silk Road never existed and so should not be referred to quite so often. And while I am here there is no reason to think the Xiongnu are Huns. Anyone object to a few minor changes? Lao Wai 17:18, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

Roman soldiers in the East[edit]

This is a classic example of some reporters are trying to make some bread money.

The account of the so-called blue eye blond Roman legionary settled down in Northern China has been proved to be false. This report has been circulating on many Chinese newspapers in the last few years. The story was initially generated from a small village (Liqian) in Shanxi province. There’re many villagers who have some western facial characteristics such as blond hair and blue eyes. Some lousy reporters made a big deal out of it and fabricated a “Lost Roman Legion in China” story. But this story lacks many fundamental historical evidence to back it up and it is fatally flawed. According to the numerous well-known Chinese historians, the Liqian western looking villagers have absolutely no connection with Crassus' lost legion. Latin Romans rarely had blue eyes and blond hair anyway. This is more of a Barbarian character. The fish-scale formation was not adopted by Romans alone. The formation was used by many countries other than the Romans. It sounds so ridiculous that those reporters are trying to tie the name of Lixuan with Legio because the similarity on the pronunciation.

The bottom line is simple: both Parthians and Huns have their unique battle tactics which are almost opposite of Romans. Roman’s rely on their heavy infantry to fight set battles. However the eastern armys, like Parthian’s and Huns were calvary armies which were much more mobile. Very few Crassus' soldiers survived the battle of Carrhae, not to mention the extreme long and deadly expedition to the western border of Han Dynasty. It’s very doubtful that Parthians would’ve kept each surviving Roman century after their defeat. After all, preserving your captives’ ranks and units is like encouraging them to rebel. It’s even more doubtful the mobile Hun cavalry would adopt Roman heavy infantry battle scheme to fight Han cavalry. The fantasy story of Roman legions showing up on the river bank of Yellow river in their full segamentatas and red tunics and ready to battle the Han army is as laughable as “Alien vs. Predator”.

Romans and Ancient Greeks were known to be blond and blue eyed. Only after centuries of Asian and African intermarriage do Italians and Greeks look they way they do now. There is nothing inconsistent with the Romans in Liqian being blond and blue eyed. Also, the foundation ruins and DNA tests have also proven Roman links.

- Mediterranean people (especially ancient Greek and Roman) used to have blonde hair and blue eyes until the Moors got into Europe. Only then the Italians, Spanish and Greeks adopted those facial characteristics.

Romans and ancient Greeks were not known to be blond and blue eyed. In fact Romans specifically commented on the Gauls and Germans for being blond and blue eyed. Moreover the number of Arabs who invaded the Middle East was small. The majority of what we now call Arabs are probably locals who have become Muslims and Arabic-speaking - Greeks and Romans in fact. Greece and Rome both got heavy influxes of northerners - Germans in Italy, Slavs in Greece - so they may be more blond and blue eyed than they were. There is precisely no reason to think any Romans who may have made it to China were blond - you can start by finding out where this alleged unit was stationed as they recuited locally. Given their involvement in Persia, they were probably all Syrian anyway. What DNA tests? Lao Wai 10:11, 14 February 2006 (UTC)

To return to the subject once more, the sources that are provided, if read properly, do not prove what the article was claiming. Let me quote from :

In 1955, Homer Hasenflug Dubs, professor of Chinese history at Oxford University, surmised that some of the 10,000 Roman prisoners taken by the Parthians after the battle of Carrhae in southeastern Turkey in 53 BC made their way east to today's Uzbekistan and later enlisted with the Hun chieftain Jzh Jzh against the Chinese Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220).
Dubs derived his speculation from ancient Chinese Han Dynasty history annals, which described a battle between the Han empire and Jzh Jzh in western China.
The annals noted that about 150 men from Jzh Jzh's army took up a "fish-scale formation," which Dubs surmised to have been the Roman testudo formation.
Dubs then asserted that these men, captured by the Chinese, then settled and built their own town called Liqian (Li-chien) the Chinese transliteration of "Alexandria."

Thus the Han Shu says nothing of relevance - just that 150 men fighting in a Fish-scale formation, whatever that is, were captured. Dubs made the rest up. From :

This idea was first proposed by Homer Hasenphlug Dubs, an Oxford University professor of Chinese history, who speculated in 1955 that some of the 10,000 Roman prisoners taken by the Parthians after the battle of Carrhae in southeastern Turkey in 53 B.C. made their way east to Uzbekistan to enlist with Jzh Jzh against the Han. Chinese accounts of the battle, in which Jzh Jzh was decapitated and his army defeated, note unusual military formations and the use of wooden fortifications foreign to the nomadic Huns. Dubs postulated that after the battle the Chinese employed the Roman mercenaries as border guards, settling them in Liqian, a short form of Alexandria used by the Chinese to denote Rome. While some Chinese scholars have been critical of Dubs' hypothesis, others went so far as to identify Lou Zhuangzi as the probable location of Liqian in the late 1980s.
Ten years later, still no academic papers have been published on the subject, and no archaeological investigation has been conducted in Lou Zhuangzi', but the media and local government remain unfazed. County officials, sensing potential tourist revenue, have erected a Doric pavilion in Lou Zhuangzi, while the county capital of Yongchang has decorated its main thoroughfare with enormous statues of a Roman soldier and a Roman woman flanking a Communist party official.

Need I go on? No blond Roman soldiers, no Roman soldiers at all in fact, just the claim of one academic. Lao Wai 09:27, 8 June 2006 (UTC)

It's true that the Romans do seem to have been generally dark-haired and swarthy (as shown on mosaics and paintings). However, there were units of Gallic cavalry accompanying Crassus, who would have been blue-eyed and blond.
More than that, Cisalpine Gaul was a major recruiting center in this period, populated by Romanized Gauls.


I found a quote on another website that linked to this Wikipedia page, reading:

As for the king, he is not a permanent figure but is chosen as the man most worthy… The people in this country are tall and regularly featured. They resemble the Chinese, and that is why the country is called Da Qin (The "Great" Qin)… The soil produced lots of gold, silver and rare jewels, including the jewel which shines at night… they sew embroidered tissues with gold threads to form tapestries and damask of many colours, and make a gold-painted cloth, and a "cloth washed-in-the-fire" (asbestos)

Could anyone tell me where this came from so I can see the rest of it? KongminRegent 22:50, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

You can find the whole account in the paragraphs on Da Qin in [3]. Regards PHG 23:47, 16 August 2006 (UTC)

Ban Chao in Parthia[edit]

"The Chinese army made an alliance with the Parthians and established some forts at a distance of a few days march from the Parthian capital Ctesiphon and held the region for several years. In 116, after the conquest of Dacia's gold and silver mines in year 106, the Roman Emperor Trajan advanced into Parthia to Ctesiphon and came within one day's march of the Chinese border garrisons, but direct contacts never took place."

I rode all the sources about the parthian empire, the campaigns of Ban Chao and the campaign of Trajan at 117, and there aren't any evidence about garrisons near Ctesiphon or Ban Chao army into parthian empire. So in few time i will correct it. -Fco

I think I wrote this part, and took it from one of my history books. Unfortunately I did not take the reference at the time, so I'll have to look for it again. Normally you could add a {{Fact}} tag without deleting, until I can find again my source. Regards. PHG 20:32, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
Well, now i can't see that portion of the text althought i didn't change it. -Fco


I removed some lines about Alexander for two particular reasons: 1. theories cannot be utilized as historical evidence. For example, there is no proof to demonstrate that the Romans utilized the Greek road to go to India (and later China.) 2. The article is Sino-Roman relations, not Sino-Graeco relations. The latter needs a separate article.

Lao Wai, about the theory of the Roman soldiers in the east, read this:

"The development and wide application of DNA technologies have opened a new approach for researchers like Xie, who are bent on unraveling the mystery.

DNA lends a hand

However, Xie and his colleagues are encountering tremendous complexities.

The area where Yongchang is located was a trade hub along the ancient Silk Road, where people of various ethnicities from as far as the Mediterranean came and went, Xie said.

Moreover, soldiers in the Roman legions were supposed to consist of peoples of different ethnic and national backgrounds.

Because the Roman Empire was at that time at the height of its power and splendor, it had conquered many countries and regions across Europe, Africa and West Asia, he added.

According to Zhou Ruixia, Xie's assistant, they will build up the genetic data from the local villagers with Caucasian features and compare the data with those of European as well as Western, Central and East Asians.

They will report their research results in academic journals in the United States or Britain.

Two years ago, Ma Runlin, a bio-chemist based in Beijing, also collected blood samples from Yongchang people for DNA analysis.

However, he has not finished his research yet.

In an e-mail to China Daily, Ma said he is collaborating with British researchers in the genetic study of the villagers' ancestry.

He does not know when he will finish the research.

"I have backache. I needed to input 1,000 lines of data with 16 numbers in each line yesterday ... We're doing the experiments at the fastest speed we can," the 26-year-old said. "Please don't push me any more."

Source: China Daily, 2005. 2005-08-24 14:03:49"

So, before saying "no Roman soldiers at all in fact", we must wait for a DNA test.

Jack 23:46, 17 January 2007 (UTC)



I noticed this:

"The Roman mission came from the south (therefore probably by sea), entering China by the frontier of Jinan or Tonkin."

What is being referred to here as "Jinan", anyway? The Chinese city, or the South Korean one? I'd vouch for the former, since the Romans did not know of the existence of Korea, nor did they know about the Pacific Ocean in the slightest and had no interest in finding out. 21:44, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

Jinan is the Han dynasty name for the part of modern northern Vietnam the Han ruled. As they also ruled Korea. So Jinan is usually referred to as Tongking these days. At least in French and hence English. Obviously (Eastern Capital) it was not called that under the Han. Lao Wai 11:53, 20 February 2007 (UTC)
Then why differentiate between the two if both are identical? 04:39, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
I don't know what the original writer had in mind but I assume the intention was to say something like "Dacia, or modern Romania,...." So the Han referred to it as Jinan, but modern Vietnamese call it something else - although most of the world calls it Tongking which is just silly. Lao Wai 08:22, 23 February 2007 (UTC)
Tonkin is named for Hanoi, which was called in Vietnamese Đông Kinh, meaning "eastern capital" (Like how Beijing in China means "Northern Capital".). Also, the Vietnamese name Bắc Kỳ, or "northern region". See the link. 01:20, 24 February 2007 (UTC)

Roman coins in North Vietnam[edit]

I made a small edit to the following passage ({{ref}} -> {{fact}}) because the old template didn't seem to fit this context -- "eventually hundreds of Roman coins were discovered in North Vietnam in the 70s". J. Innes Miller notes that a "copper coin of the Roman Emperor Maximius (253-8) was found in the district of My-Tho in southern Vietnam" (The Spice Trade of the Roman Empire [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969], p. 240), so this statement is not as improbable as it might seem at first glance. -- llywrch 22:42, 19 March 2007 (UTC)

Not Romans, but Yuezhi[edit]

Indeed, the Roman Legionaries where people of Mediteranean stock, most of them dark haired and brown eyed. During the time of the Carrhae Battle, the Roman Army had very few Gauls or central European recruits, so there is relative few chances to have blue eyed blonds among the Roman Legionaries at that time. It is more probable that the villagers from this remote area of contemporary China are inheriting the European racial features from the Yuezhi tribes which are well recorded Indo-European people, libing for centuries along the western frontier of Chinese Empire.

Need more Details[edit]

What did the romans learn about china from the first embassy and how did they communicate with the chinese to trade? the linguistic differences between latin and chinese are staggering. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:16, 7 October 2007 (UTC)


The page on Roman Commerce says in regards to trade with China:

["The Hou Hanshu (History of the Later Han Chinese dynasty) recounted the first of several Roman embassies to China sent out by a Roman Emperor, probably Marcus Aurelius judging by the arrival date of 166 (Antoninus Pius is another possibility, but he died in 161. The confusion arises because Marcus Aurelius took the names of his predecessor as additional names, as a mark of respect and so is referred to in Chinese history as "An Tun", i.e. "Antoninus"). The mission came from the South, and therefore probably by sea, entering China by the frontier of Jinan or Tonkin. It brought presents of rhinoceros horns, ivory, and tortoise shell which had probably been acquired in Southern Asia.

The mission reached the Chinese capital of Luoyang in 166 and was met by Emperor Huan of the Han Dynasty. About the same time, and possibly through this embassy, the Chinese acquired a treatise of astronomy from Daqin (Rome).

However, in the absence of any record of this on the Roman side of the silk road, it may be that the "ambassadors" were in reality free traders acting independently of Aurelius.

From the 3rd century we have a Chinese text, the Weilue, describing the products of the Roman Empire and the routes to it. [1]

Yet here on this article we have talk of Romans happily wondering about in Chinese cities mixing with the local populace to produce blonde blue-eyed Chinese children, its amazing how the Mediterraneans are so much like the Nordics. I don't know who or what to believe but logic tells me that 1) Rome didn't have any great relations with China to be worthy of a page, 2) any Westerners they did happen to meet weren't Romans or acting on behalf of the emperor 3) We have nothing to go on from the Roman prospective about this 4) We all like far fetched stories about how the Egyptians salied to the Americas to teach the Aztecs to build pyramids and how Altantis really existed etc but its probably false. This page in my opinion is fantastical, untill I see any book written about this page I refuse to believe it and will try and get it deleted. Smarred Wolet (talk) 12:50, 24 November 2007 (UTC)

and ten years later on, the article is still here - documented with RS's . . . — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:42, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

"Fish-Scale Formation"[edit]

It would Seem much more likely that the soldiers using the "fish scale formation" mentioned by the Chinese are much more likely to be Baktrian Greeks (or possibly Indo-Greeks) utiliziing a Phalanx than Romans utilizing a Testudo. (talk) 22:33, 17 July 2008 (UTC) Alex8876

Except that the Romans adopted the phalanx for themselves in the 2nd century B.C., and the "turtle" formation of the later Roman army was distinctly more "fish-scale" than the Greek phalanx. There is no certainty, of course, but it could easily have been Roman soldiers. (talk) 23:47, 18 April 2017 (UTC)

"One of the external links is defunct"[edit]

My apologies if this is the wrong place to note this - this is my first contribution. I followed the link to the silk road site and discovered that it is no more and the domain name is up for sale. I don't know if I may just delete the link? --MuireannMc (talk) 21:13, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Outflow: gold? or silver[edit]

"the importation of Chinese silk caused a huge outflow of gold" Perhaps. Or of silver, the usual metal sought abroad by the Chinese. Perhaps a citation would better support this statement. --Wetman 19:37, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

Yü Ying-Shih (1986, "Han Foreign Relations" in Cambridge History of China, Cambridge University Press) heavily doubts this and the common mythos that any significant amount of Roman silver or gold traveled east in exchange for silk, although he admits that there was obviously some silk that reached the Roman world and Roman items that obviously reached China. I can get you a quote if you like.--Pericles of AthensTalk 21:58, 18 May 2009 (UTC)
Coin of the Roman emperor Augustus found at the Pudukottai hoard, India. British Museum.

Pliny the Elder wrote: "By the lowest reckoning, India, China [Seres] and the Arabian peninsula take from our Empire 100 million sesterces every year: that is how much our luxuries and women cost us." Pliny the Elder, Natural History 12.84 [4]. I am not sure if Roman gold coins have been found in China, but many have been unearthed in India [5]. See also Roman trade with India. Pliny may only have referred to the value of the trade though, rather than an actual number of coins [6]. Phg (talk) 05:15, 19 May 2009 (UTC)

Recent finds[edit]

I found this blurb in the latest issue of Archaeology (magazine). The item is just a basic announcement, so if anyone has any details, it would certainly make this article a little more interesting since we would get away from the high level relations and focus on the organic flow of people: "Think of it as early globalization. DNA from remains in a 2,000-year-old Xiongnu Empire (209 B.C.–A.D. 93) grave show that its occupant had European or western Asian genes. The structure and location of the tomb suggest that he was friendly with the elites of what is considered a linguistically and ethnically diverse empire. Meanwhile, mitochondrial DNA from bones around the same age, found at Vagnari in southern Italy, indicate that their owner was of East Asian descent, possibly a worker or slave in the Roman Empire." Found at Hiberniantears (talk) 16:40, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

The Xiongnu could have had Tocharian ancestry. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 22:41, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Romano-Chinese relations/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.

I tried to improve the article in the recent past by rewriting the lead and removing only very vaguely related material (usually falling short of the Chinese sphere's borders by many hundreds of kilometers) which tended to dominate the article, but I feel it is still far from enough.

The core section Indirect trade relations relies overly on direct quotations without ever realizing that "Seres" cannot be easily equated with "Chinese" in Roman sources. The fuzziness of mutual knowledge and the mythological connotations which pervades the few accounts on both sides are underplayed or completely ignored.

The second main topic Embassies and travels does not fall in the pseudo-objective trap of letting speak the sources without interpretation, but here the reference die out almost completely. If the primary sources were moved to Wikisource, the article as it stands would retain little in the way of hard, reliable information; a major overhaul is required to keep the status. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 22:16, 8 June 2010 (UTC)

  • Yawn*. Notified the top contributors. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 09:50, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
Have just received notice of this possible reassessment tonight. Will try to have a proper look at it and make changes wherever necessary over the next few days. Have just made one minor improvement tonight. John Hill (talk) 12:05, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
I'll have a look at it too, and see what reliable secondary sources I can gather to confirm (or provide analysis on) primary sources.--Pericles of AthensTalk 16:22, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Some of you here may find this useful: these are some notes I've taken from Yü Ying-shih (1986), paraphrasing his work:

  • Page 460-461: Yu says that the Book of Later Han says emissaries from beyond Rinan claimed to come from Daqin, ruled by Andun, and brought gifts of ivory, rhinoceros horn, and tortoise shells. Yu says they may have been from the Roman Empire and Andun could be interpreted as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, but nothing is confirmed. The Chinese had ventured into Central Asia ever since the travels of Zhang Qian and discovered lands as far west as Anxi (Parthia), which was Parthia. The Book of Later Han says that the Parthians were determined from keeping the Chinese from traveling to Rome, and prevented Gan Ying from doing so in 97 AD when sent by Ban Chao. It is known that Chinese silk reached the Roman world while Roman objects of ornaments and precious metals reached China.
  • Page 461-462: However, Dr. Manfred Rashke argues that there is no surmountable evidence to suggest that the Han upheld a large export trade of silk and that Roman funds were not drained away by purchasing Chinese silk to the extent that some scholars have asserted.

I hope that these notes are of some help. I shall try to gather more soon.

Full reference: Yü, Ying-shih. (1986). "Han Foreign Relations," in The Cambridge History of China: Volume I: the Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C. – A.D. 220, pp. 377-462. Edited by Denis Twitchett and Michael Loewe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521243270.--Pericles of AthensTalk 23:36, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

Crespigny (2007) provides more analysis:

  • Page 600: QUOTE: "Most spectacularly, it is recorded that a mission from Daqin 大秦, identified as the empire of Rome, came to Luoyang from the south in 166. The envoys claimed that they had been sent by their king Andun [?][?], presumably the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus [reg. 161–180], and the gifts they brought, including ivory, rhinoceros horn and tortoise shell, had evidently been gathered on their journey. There was and still is some suspicion that these men were enterprising traders rather than accredited officials, but their visit provided valuable prestige to the emperor at a time of political difficulty. [It may be only chance, but the date of this visit coincided with the outbreak of the Antonine plague which ravaged the Roman empire from the middle 160s: the question of epidemics is discussed in the entry for Liu Hong, Emperor Ling.]"

Full reference: de Crespigny, Rafe. (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 AD). Leiden: Koninklijke Brill. ISBN 9004156054.--Pericles of AthensTalk 23:41, 13 July 2010 (UTC)

So far I can't find anything in my notes for the Seres in particular, but I will continue to look.--Pericles of AthensTalk 23:44, 13 July 2010 (UTC)
While I was working on my book, Through the Jade Gate to Rome, I made a careful study of the report on envoys from Da Qin to China over many years, not only of the text itself, but of everything written about it (including all the quotes above). My conclusions are that there can be little if any doubt that, a) Da Qin refers to the Roman Empire, and b) there is no question that the Chinese believed the people arriving in 166 CE were legitimate envoys from Da Qin. The way the text reads it is (I believe clear) that the question was rather that, if the envoys arrived with reasonably common trade goods, maybe the earlier (and probably somewhat fanciful) reports the Chinese had had of Da Qin had been exagerrated.
I believe the confusion amongst several Western scholars as to whether the visitors were indeed genuine envoys, or just merchants making that claim, can be traced to an unfortunate misreading by Édouard Chavannes in his pioneering translation of the passage in: "Les pays d’Occident d’après le Heou Han chou." T’oung pao 8, (1907) p. 185 and n.1, which was then repeated by others who followed him.
The Chinese text reads: " 至桓帝延熹九年,大秦王安敦遣使自日南徼外獻象牙﹑犀角﹑瑇 瑁,始乃一通焉。其所表貢,並無珍異,疑傳者過焉。"
My translation of this passage (which has been checked for accuracy by a number of Chinese scholars) reads:
"In the ninth Yanxi year [166 CE], during the reign of Emperor Huan, the king of Da Qin [the Roman Empire], Andun [Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, r. 161-180], sent envoys from beyond the frontiers through Rinan [Commandery on the central Vietnamese coast], to offer elephant tusks, rhinoceros horn, and turtle shell. This was the very first time there was [direct] communication [between the two countries]. The tribute brought was neither precious nor rare, therefore raising suspicions that the accounts [of Da Qin] might have been exaggerated." Hill (2009), p. 26.
For a detailed discussion of this passage, please see: Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes During the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. ("An Annotated translation of the Chronicle on the Western Regions in the Hou Hanshu"), (2009), pp. 289-296, n. 12.20, ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
As to the "Seres" mentioned in Western Classical literature - I think the evidence is very strong that these references were to middlemen in the silk trade (Khotanese? Sogdians? Yuezhi?), and not to the Chinese as such. Cheers, John Hill (talk) 11:05, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

I have cut back again some of the tone which gives a somewhat inflated importance to their contacts which you can count on one hand even after Yubitsume! What the reader should be given is the big picture, and this is that Romano-Chinese relationship was very close to non-existent; two-three encounters in as many centuries don't make a summer. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 01:41, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

This is unbelievable. It is like to cut back references about the Vikings in America because there it is only one "encounter" in Terranova...--2offadyke (talk) 02:57, 21 July 2010 (UTC)
If the article exaggerates the scope and intensity of contacts between the Vinkings and Indians like it tends to do here between Romans and Chinese: yes, certainly. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 10:30, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

The GA reassessment has been running now for six weeks, two of them in full. One of my three main concers was the overreliance on direct quotations in the core sections Trade relations and Embassies and travels. Since this issue has not been addressed, I am going to delist the article per Wikipedia:Quotations#Overusing quotations. Regards Gun Powder Ma (talk) 11:10, 28 July 2010 (UTC)

Help please![edit]

Someone has added a huge amount of text as blockquotes into the Footnote section. While much of the information is of interest, this is no way to write an encyclopaedia. The worthwhile information in these blockquotes needs to be rewritten (and considerably shortened) and woven into the text. Unfortunately, I am too busy at the moment getting a book ready for publication to take on this major task. Is there anyone else who could take on this major task, please? Many thanks, John Hill (talk) 21:34, 17 February 2012 (UTC)

What is with the name of this article?[edit]

Why not Sino-Roman relations? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:32, 3 July 2012 (UTC)

That would make more sense. (talk) 16:59, 27 June 2013 (UTC)
In fact, that was exactly the original title. I've moved it back for various reasons:
  • because I could (heh),
  • to get a discussion going, should anyone object (in my experience, being WP:BOLD is really more effective than complaining on the talk page and doing nothing)
  • the rationale given by Gun Powder Ma for the move is insufficient: neither sequence logically implies anything, certainly not a particular perspective (and BTW, English is spoken as a native language all over the globe, and Hong Kong and Singapore are prominently English-speaking, too, so the English Wikipedia cannot be said to have a European/non-East-Asian-centred geographical point of view),
  • I think Romano-Chinese looks plainly ugly (why not Roman–Chinese, if you must?),
  • neither title is supported by refs, so it's unclear which one is more common. --Florian Blaschke (talk) 23:41, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
The only two embassies which established a direct contact between Rome and China were Roman, hence Romano-Chinese with the active force coming first. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 02:24, 20 November 2013 (UTC)
It is. Per common English usage, Romano- refers to (if anything) the gypsies ("Roma"). If it's not a completely WP:OR WP:NEOLOGISM, it's certainly uncommon and misleading enough that we should keep no truck with it. Per that plus the consensus here ("heh" not being especially convincing), I've restored the correct name. — LlywelynII 04:05, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
@GPM: You're not wrong either about the logical order or about what people are coming here to see. That said, you're still off on how we refer to things in English. When the other option is awkward sounding enough, we default to euphony. See: Sino-Japanese War, Sino-French War, Sino-American Relations, Sino-Tibetan languages... If you can bring in some WP:RS who do use this term, well, that's something... but I'd personally still oppose the Romano- anything on the grounds that it sounds so bad you're just forcing the page to endure an ongoing edit war as people correct it. Flor is right: the alt isn't Romano-, it's Roman–Chinese with an en dash. — LlywelynII 04:12, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
Please point us to the rule that "Sino-" comes first by default. Isn't this a sinocentric rule? The Oxford Dictionary defines "Romano" as combined form for "Roman; Roman and ..." and Romano-British, Romano-Germanic and Romano-Gothic are all used in WP. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 15:10, 5 December 2013 (UTC)
The problem is that there is no "us": it's only you. Kindly knock off the WP:OWNERSHIP (however well-intended) and realize what the other editors' WP:CONSENSUS is here or provide support for your (obviously strongly contested) view that "Romano-Chinese" isn't just something you made up. Don't bring in bizarre charges of anti-Roman Empire racism into it. (In every case, the Romano- above refers to X people who have adopted Roman culture and practices. A "Romano-Chinese" would be a Chinese person living under Roman rule, not trade between these countries.)
Hm, I was going to help you out with some prelim searches, but they're so strongly against you I'll just start a move request. — LlywelynII 02:52, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Use plain English[edit]

I did some research on this question, and the best answer I can come up with is that China does not use "Sino" to refer to itself in those kinds of phrases (in English). Furthermore, it appears to me that the word "Sino" has long been obsolete in the Western world ("China" is the correct 21st century word in English), but it still gets used for whatever reason, perhaps in a similar deliberately-obfuscating fashion as legalese. I searched the Coin Compendium's database of modern Chinese coinage, and I couldn't find any "Sino-X friendship" coins that were called by those words by any official publication of the government of China. Instead what I found is only American numismatists use "Sino", and even then, they don't seem confident enough in that to avoid looking like they're just making it up arbitrarily, like here: Re: is this Sino Jap or Tokyo?.

I found one articularly important "friendship" coin and its COA, and the official text does not use the word "Sino" anywhere, in CCT1962: 1989 1/10 oz gold panda Sino-Japanese friendship You-You first birthday and Japan Heisei Era begins, and File:1390525857-7726.png: 1989 1/10 oz gold panda Sino-Japanese friendship You-You first birthday and Japan Heisei Era begins - Certificate, Screenshot. If I remember correctly, the entire idea of "Sino-this" and "Sino-that" in China's coinage is just an emergent series of coins recognized by coin collectors over the years, and the government of China never intentionally set out in the beginning to create such a series. With that fact noted, the Chinese-speaking collectors do not normally use the word "Sino" unless they're specifically reading an English label.

So, in short, I think there's a good case to be made for WP:UPE, and use "China" instead of "Sino"...sinus...wino...swino...winus...

Badon (talk) 01:48, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

For some more interesting background on this topic, CCT2514: 1973 silver Sino-British friendship was the first coin to be called "Sino-X friendship", but our research eventually got us photos of the original box and certificate of authenticity (COA), and even the original British English text does not use the word "Sino". Really, "Sino" seems out of fashion, and it's only being used in academic areas that are notorious for not being on the cutting edge of modernity (history and numismatics - more or less the same thing). Badon (talk) 02:17, 24 January 2014 (UTC)

Move to Sino-Roman relations[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was move per request as the more common name per evidence provided and as less ambiguous given other uses of Romano.--Fuhghettaboutit (talk) 16:25, 15 December 2013 (UTC)

Romano-Chinese relationsSino-Roman relations – Per WP:CONSENSUS as well as WP:USEENGLISH WP:COMMONNAME. This really should go without saying, but since a particular editor has objected very strongly over several years, let's run the numbers:

The page was established in 2005 as "Roman embassies to China". It was moved to "Sino-Roman relations" by the page creator the same year. In 2010, Gun Powder Ma arrived and converted the page to BC/AD from its original usage. He subsequently moved the page to "Romano-Chinese relations" without any discussion, calling it a "minor change", on the argument "our perspective". He has since repeatedly restored BC/AD dating and reverted other editors' restorations of the English name of the page without taking note of the discussion on the talk page, where three (now four) editors have objected and none have supported him.

At first glance, vanilla Google seems to leave them equivalent: 8.6k for "Romano-Chinese -wikipedia" and 7.3k for "Sino-Roman -wikipedia". Closer examination, however, shows every single S-R reference is on topic while almost none of the R-C references are. (And of the few that are, they're directly cribbing this article.) Google Books produces ~30 results for "Romano-Chinese" (mostly referring to people named Romano, medieval Rome, or cribbing Wikipedia) versus ~250 for "Sino-Roman" (on point). Google Scholar has 3 uses of "Romano-Chinese" from an Indian researcher, a Chinese researcher, and a blogger versus 36 scholarly, native-English uses of "Sino-Roman".

(As a side point, the same editor has also removed this much clearer Roman/Chinese map at least three times from three different editors on the idea that it "violates WP:NPOV" in an article about those two countries. It would be helpful if someone could convince him otherwise or somehow stop his repeated removal of the more helpful image.) [edit: Turns out the image has its own issues, albeit not those GPM was claiming.]  — LlywelynII 02:52, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Not that it's binding on the English wiki, but the Italian version of this page (which you'd think would have more reason to be persnickety about slights against l'imperio Romano) is at Relazioni diplomatiche sino-romane. — LlywelynII 06:51, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

  • Oppose per WP:NAMINGCRITERIA. The only two embassies which established a direct contact between Rome and China were sent by the Romans, the Chinese never returned any envoys. Therefore Romano-Chinese relations is the more adequate article name, because it puts the active force in the relationship first, not the passive, merely receiving one. According to the Oxford Dictionary "Romano" is a common form, defining it as "Roman; Roman and ...". The hyphenated forms Romano-British, Romano-Germanic and Romano-Gothic etc. are all used in WP, wherever the (more) active element is Roman.
PS: LlywelynII is a user who is entirely new to the article to which he has not contributed so far, but yet somehow thinks he needs to create the impression that he is already in the know about the topic and tries to bring an unnecessarily personal tone into it. I wasn't aware that the original notation in 2005 was BCE/CE, not BC/AD, so I support this change back to the original choice. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 15:17, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
The current name fails NAMINGCRITERIA. In fact, it meets precisely none of the six criteria listed there, as documented above: it is unrecognizable, unnatural, &c. &c. As mentioned elsewhere, Romano-British does not mean "prominently Roman": it means a British person who has been Romanized: the equivalent would be a Chinese national living in Syria speaking Latin. And, ignoring that and my arguments, even on your own, the importance of Chinese sources on the (in any case, bilateral) relationship belies your point.
The ad homs are only going to work against you. You should have checked the page history prior to your edit. User:John Hill made you aware of the page's status the first time he reverted them. You simply ignored that later on. (And all the same, good that you're letting it alone now.) Beyond which, my history at this page has no bearing on any of the points made above, which you are simply continuing to ignore. — LlywelynII 15:55, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
That said, the page ownership is strong so I'll try to bring in some other voices so I don't shout myself hoarse and we can get a decent consensus. — LlywelynII 16:00, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
[rfc|hist|lang|style|policy rfcid=4D7D509 went here]
Could use some more feedback on this move request. — LlywelynII 16:03, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Look, Romano- is a common prefix for all kinds of things which establish a relationship between Romans and others. Your equivalent example is bizarre. As for your apparent inability to refrain from ad hominem, I do you a favour and ignore it. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 16:10, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I'm afraid I cannot see where anybody else has engaged in arg. ad hominem. AGK [•] 02:01, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Strong support Chinese-Roman relations. Romano is a cheese and Sino is unnecessary--both Roman and Chinese are fully recognizable which is one of our naming criteria. I am fully opposed to the Eurocentric current title (listing Rome first?? Why? We always put titles like this in alphabetical order) that made me think it was referring to the group of people often known as "gypsies" (see Romani people). I would never have guessed that "Romano" would refer to Romans, since we have the word Roman to refer to Romans. I also strongly oppose the proposed title as Sino is unnecessarily unrecognizable. Sure, I know what it means, but "Chinese" is clearer. And "Roman" would go before "Sino" anyway. Red Slash 16:50, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per common name and nomination. Alternatively but to a lesser extend, support "China–Rome relations" per conventions in all the other diplomatic relations articles. --Cold Season (talk) 03:23, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per WP:COMMONNAME. "Sino-" is one of the most widely used country-name prefix in English, while "Romano-" is confusing and rarely used. -Zanhe (talk) 03:52, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support. If Sino-Roman relations is the term used in literature, it should be what's used here. The only context I have ever heard "Romano-" in is "Romano-British" which means something entirely different. SnowFire (talk) 17:58, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Sino-Roman. According to this Ngram, Romano-Chinese, Roman-Chinese, and Chinese-Roman are statistically insignificant usages. Keahapana (talk) 23:00, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
    Not that I don't agree with you for other reasons (see my searches above), but your ngram was rather badly formatted. See, e.g., this one. — LlywelynII 09:22, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
    Strings containing symbols other than letters must be included in parenthesis in Ngrams. Like this ¨walk victor falk talk 11:29, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
    Thank you. That had been bugging me for the longest time. Er, could you look at that again? I'm pretty sure what you're doing there isn't telling it to look for (e.g.) "Roman-Chinese" results. I'm pretty sure what you're actually telling the ngram to look for is how often (e.g.) "Roman" shows up and then to subtract those results from the "Chinese" results. Look at (e.g.) how your (Roman-Chinese) and (Chinese-Roman) results are direct inverses of one another. — LlywelynII 04:36, 10 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Both Roman–Chinese relations and Roman–Sino relations are sensible enough, though the reader is more likely to search for the former term than the latter. Romano will be alien to most readers, and while it may (per GPM) be a prefix sometimes used in this sense, it is obviously nowhere near as common as the simpler Roman. The current article title isn't at all optimal, and both the proposed titles are better, in my view. I notice that similar articles about modern states use the nouns for titling, e.g. India–United Kingdom relations. Rome–China relations might avoid this whole argument, and have the added benefit of being the simplest form of all. AGK [•] 02:01, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
    • "Sino" is a prefix, so it would be switched in as in "Sino-Roman relations". If using nouns, it would be convention to alphabetize it as in "China–Rome relations". --Cold Season (talk) 03:23, 7 December 2013 (UTC)
      • <nerd=English>As CS points out, since "Sino-" is a prefix, it has to go first. Any combination of nouns or adjectives would use an en dash, not a hyphen: Roman–Chinese relations; Rome–China relations; Roman–Han relations...</nerd>

        It's not necessarily a bad idea but it's not an actual convention to alphabetize the two countries' names; did it become a Wikipedia policy at some point? — LlywelynII 08:13, 9 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support per Google Books and Google Scholar data. Holdek (talk) 05:21, 8 December 2013 (UTC)
  • Support Seems to be more common. I'm don't think "Sino" is too obscure - it's a pretty well-known term. Neljack (talk) 03:44, 14 December 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


Actually, I just noticed this. The map has an ongoing edit war over whether Korea counted as Han territory and it doesn't include Britain. I'll pull it myself, but we should replace it with something similarly focused once the borders are fixed. — LlywelynII 06:51, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

The problem with maps showing the political extension of the two empires is twofold:
  1. the Tarim basin was never incorporated into Han China's civil administration, but was only a military protectorate. Since 95% of the basin is anyway uninhabited desert, the question remains why huge stretches of this territory should be painted in a colour at all.
  2. The second issue is that any date chosen is bound to remain POV as the two empires peaked at different points in time. Therefore, a non-territorial Eurasian map is generally to be preferred. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 15:45, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
Not at all. A clearly focused map on the two empires in question is to be preferred. That one just has a ton of issues. — LlywelynII 14:30, 7 December 2013 (UTC)


For what it's worth, his names were in Greek. Presumably, it was translated into Latin at some point in antiquity but we have no basis for suggesting how. What we've got is Byzantine Greek from earlier Greek; Arabic and Persian from Syriac from earlier Greek; and Renaissance Latin versions of the Byzantine Greek. I say just use English (Golden Chersonese or, better, Peninsula; Great Gulf; etc.) and let the linked pages go into details about the rest. — LlywelynII 15:23, 15 March 2015 (UTC)

Northern Wei embassy[edit]

I've been massively expanding this article over the past two weeks or so. The details are quite solid, except for one in particular that's still nagging me.

I felt compelled to remove that passage about the Cao Wei of the Three Kingdoms period, since I could not find it in any of the sources at my disposal, until I finally got around to reading Henry Yule (1915). His work, although dated and not up to speed with recent archaeology, is very reliable when it comes to the details of the accounts in official Chinese histories. Yet this one bit about the Wei Dynasty is out of place in regards to his other passages. Curiously he does not mention the primary source used as the basis of this account, and it is certainly not mentioned by Friedrich Hirth (1885) in any of his translations. It's all the more curious when you look to Yule's footnote on the matter for the claim about "Emperor T'ai Tsu" (p. 53, footnote 4, citing Deguignes in Mem de l'Acad., xlvi, 555):

Idlib. [There is something wrong in the passage from Deguignes as there is no T'ai Tsu of the Wei dynasty.]

Yet in his following footnote (p. 53, footnote #5), he clearly demonstrates that other academics have discussed the topic:

"Klaproth, op. cit. Pauthier, probably by an alternative translation, calls the presents "glasses of a red colour, stuffs of azure silk figured with gold, and the like" (p. 49).

I don't have the time or patience to track down dated sources like Klaproth and Pauthier, so God/Ahura Mazda/Shangdi/Buddha/Allah/Zeus/Jupiter bless the saint and sage who investigates this and clears it all up for us! Cheers. Pericles of AthensTalk 05:34, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

Some evidence for people of 'East Asian' ancestry living in Roman London[edit]

@PericlesofAthens: The study reported here (Some evidence for people of 'East Asian' ancestry living in Roman London) indicates that out of a sample of 22 burials from Roman London, two or three individuals appear to be of 'East Asian' ancestry, which might have a bearing on this article BabelStone (talk) 11:34, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

It's interesting, but perhaps tangential since the only evidence is the DNA analysis. There's no proving that these were Han Chinese. They could have easily been steppe nomads from Mongolia who share a genetic affinity with other East Asian population groups. If there was some sort of other connective piece of evidence, like Han grave goods buried with them, then it would make this article far more relatable. Thanks for sharing, though! At the very least it is food for thought. Pericles of AthensTalk 16:24, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

The article discusses both African and Asian people in Roman Londinium. The section concerning East Asian people in particular is the following"

"The individuals in question are two men, aged 18–25 and 26–35, who were buried in the second and fourth centuries AD, respectively, and who are both identified as being of 'Asian' ancestry on the basis of a macromorphoscopic trait analysis (that is to say, their macromorphoscopic trait results are comparable to those of the modern populations of China and Japan), along with a woman aged over 18 who was buried in the second century AD and whose results are possibly indicative of Asian ancestry. None of these three people had oxygen isotope results consistent with an early life spent in the London area, although pinning down their childhood residency beyond this is difficult. Drinking water that would produce tooth enamel oxygen isotope values similar to those of the man and woman from the second-century AD is found across a broad swathe of the globe from western Britain and southern Europe across to China. Equally, although the oxygen isotope result of the man buried in the fourth-century AD is outside both the British and European ranges, it would still be consistent with a childhood spent in, for example, large areas of North Africa, the Near East, India, Central Asia or the western parts of Han China, making identifying where he spent his early life problematic. Finally, as to question of whether these people were resident in London or simply passing through, it is worth noting that the dietary isotope ranges of the two individuals who were tested for this are within the local ranges encountered in other Romano-British cemeteries, suggesting that these people, whatever their childhood origins and ancestry, may well have spent the last decade of their lives in Britain, something that is in itself notable."

The article also mentions findings of East Asians remains in other Roman areas:

"Needless to say, the presence of people of 'East Asian' ancestry in Roman London is a matter of considerable interest. As to the circumstances of their apparent residency within the western Roman Empire, it needs to be emphasised that these inhabitants of second- to fourth-century AD Londinium are not wholly alone nor without context. Most notably, a recent isotopic and mitochondrial DNA study of burials on the Imperial estate at Vagnari, southern Italy, has indicated that one of the adults buried there in the first or second century AD was likewise a migrant of 'East Asian' ancestry, given that 'all modern mtDNA matches to her available haplotype sequence are from Japan'."

The author seems to thing that these individuals could have followed the trade routs from east to west. Dimadick (talk) 14:16, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

The fact that we can't distinguish the remains as either being Chinese and Japanese is perhaps enough to withhold this from the article. I heavily doubt they were "Japanese", considering how the land of "Wa (Japan)" during the Yayoi period was nothing but petty chiefdoms that maintained rare correspondence with the Chinese. However, the 4th century marks the beginning of the more advanced Kofun period in Japan. In either case I'd like to see more conclusive evidence about this before even considering giving it a blurb in the article. Pericles of AthensTalk 19:18, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
User:Goldsmelter has added this info to the article with better sources, namely the BBC and an academic journal. These are reliable enough, I suppose, although the section certainly doesn't deserve anymore additions or undue weight seen how these are brand new discoveries. The evidence isn't even all that conclusive and, for that matter (from what I can tell), there's no evidence they were actually Chinese. Again, they could have been East-Asiatic Mongolic steppe peoples. That seems far more plausible, actually, given the Migration period (and how this is dated as late as the 4th century, although the skeletons could be as early as 2nd century). Pericles of AthensTalk 13:04, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
A note of caution about the methodology employed is given in this piece (Chinese Skeletons In Roman Britain? Not So Fast) by Kristina Killgrove. I think that this is a fascinating topic, but until there is some more solid evidence to back up the "macromorphoscopic trait analysis", such as DNA, I think we should be very cautious about jumping on the bandwagon, and I would support removing the section from this article. I would also note that, finding 2 or 3 possible East Asian skeletons out of a sample of 22 means that: a) about 10% of the population of Roman London was Asian in ancestry; b) the sample is very unrepresentative of the overall population, and they were just very lucky to find the 2-3 Asian people living in Roman London in their small sample; or c) their methodology is flawed. I favour the latter explanation. BabelStone (talk) 12:41, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
User:BabelStone: removing it altogether might cause a needless edit war with other editors who might come along and want to add this info yet again. A better solution would be to heavily trim the details and provide Killgrove's input from that Forbes article for the sake of balance. Feel free to edit the article accordingly using Killgrove (I would ask that you simply cite the article in the format I have used for other news articles thus far, with an access date placed at the end). Pericles of AthensTalk 13:51, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
According to Roman Burials in Southwark: Excavations at 52-56 Lant Street and 56 Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 (2013) the excavations at Lant Street occurred in 2003, so unless there have been more recent excavations at the same site (which seems unlikely in the context of urban archaeology) these are not new archaeological discoveries, but new analysis of skeletons excavated in 2003. BabelStone (talk) 18:59, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
Good find, BabelStone! Cheers. Pericles of AthensTalk 19:11, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Sino-Roman relations/GA2. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: Iazyges (talk · contribs) 00:10, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

  • (✓)1. well written?
  • (✓)2. Verifiable
  • (✓)3. Broad
  • (✓)4. Neutral
  • (✓)5. Stable
  • (✓)6. Illustrated

Good job overall. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 00:10, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Thanks! Damn. That was quick. Cheers. Pericles of AthensTalk 00:39, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Reversing quick passage[edit]

Iazyges approved both this article and Caracalla for GA over the course of 16 minutes, and had been active doing other editing in the hours before. An article with over 6600 words and 140 footnotes from several dozen sources takes quite a while to review properly. Further, the article has had a few dozen edits in the couple of days it had been nominated; while this isn't necessarily a stability issue, nevertheless the reviewer should wait until the article is finished—or at least query the nominator as to progress—before completing a review.

While I haven't examined this article the way I did Caracalla, it's clear that there simply wasn't enough time to check for prose issues, whether the lead properly summarizes the article (and doesn't have any significant facts that aren't in the body); in short, this could not have been a thorough review that properly addressed the GA criteria. I am therefore reversing the listing of the article as a GA. If Iazyges is willing and able to do a thorough review of this article, including identifying the many prose issues, then I look forward to seeing it, but after this initial far-too-swift passage, I believe there should be a double-check before the nomination is ultimately approved. Please note, PericlesofAthens, this has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of your article, only with the problematic review. I hope that this review can be reconstituted; if not, then I'll make sure it gets back into the nominations pool with no loss of seniority. BlueMoonset (talk) 02:18, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

BlueMoonset (talk · contribs) Sorry, I admit my lack of experience in this, ill go through both more thoroughly, suggesting edits to anything wrong with it. i'm currently doing the same with caracalla. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 02:26, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
I see. I understand that these things take time, so no rush is necessary if Iazyges needs to comb through the article. In the meantime, it appears that the article is still listed on the GA nominations page and Iazyges is still listed as currently reviewing it. Regards, Pericles of AthensTalk 02:28, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Suggestions. (more to come)[edit]

"Sino-Roman relations were essentially indirect throughout the existence of both empires. The Roman Empire and the ancient Han dynasty progressively inched closer in the course of the Roman expansion into the Ancient Near East and simultaneous Chinese military incursions into Central Asia. However, powerful intermediate empires such as the Parthians and Kushans kept the two Eurasian flanking powers permanently apart and mutual awareness remained low and knowledge fuzzy." re-write this, maybe "Sino-roman relations were indirect, as the empires never shared a land border, even though they became closer due to the roman conquest of the middle east, and the han dynasty's conquest of central asia. The two empires were separated by the parthians and the kushans, as such all they only knew of each other through the stories of the parthians and the kushans which spread along the trade routes they shared such as the silk road.

I'm not sure how that's entirely different from the original paragraph. In fact, it introduces problems, because the Romans didn't conquer the entire "Middle East" and the Han-dynasty of China didn't conquer the whole of "Central Asia", which your suggestion almost seems to imply. Also, are you a native speaker of English? There's something about your last sentence that For starters, it is not a complete statement. Pericles of AthensTalk 20:05, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
PericlesofAthens (talk · contribs) I was still waking up while writing it, as I look over what ive suggested its not the best, Ill work on it. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 21:51, 24 September 2016 (UTC)

Full Suggestions[edit]

Feel free to tick when done if you feel it will help, or x if you feel it would be bad. I'll remove the WIP when im done.

  • 1) "However, powerful intermediate empires such as the Parthians and Kushans kept the two Eurasian flanking powers permanently apart and mutual awareness remained low and knowledge fuzzy." Maybe change the ending to "However, powerful intermediate empires such as the Parthians and Kushans kept the two Eurasian flanking powers permanently apart and mutual awareness between them remained low, and they knew very little of each other."
  • 2) "Only a few attempts at direct contact are known from records." maybe "Only a few attempts at diplomacy are known from records"?
  • 3) ", the same region Chinese sources claim the Romans first landed." perhaps some expansion, does this mean the chinese believe the romans landed with boats in vietnam, or is landed meant to mean something else?
  • 4) " Florus seems to have confused the Seres with peoples of India, or at least noted that their skin complexions proved that they both lived "beneath another sky" than the Romans." this conflicts with the lead paragraphs which say "In classical sources, the problem of identifying references to ancient China is exacerbated by the interpretation of the Latin term "Seres," whose meaning fluctuated and could refer to a number of Asian people in a wide arc from India over Central Asia to China." Perhaps it could be fixed as such "Florus uses the term seres for the people of india, or at least noted that their skin complexion proved that they both lived "beneath another sky" than the romans."
  • 5) "While the existence of China was clearly known to Roman cartographers, their understanding of it was rather murkier." May be just me but i feel like murkier isnt very encyclopaedic, maybe "rather less"?
  • 6) "It is perhaps no surprise then that Marinus and Ptolemy had relied on the testimony of a Greek sailor named Alexander, most likely a merchant, for how to reach Cattigara" maybe start this out with "It is no surprise"
  • 7) ", with a capital city 1,500 miles northeast from India that he called Khubdan (from Turkic word Khumdan for the Sui and Tang capital Chang'an)," is this roman miles or american miles? also maybe a (this many km)
  • 8) "he Weilüe also listed what it considered the most important dependent vassal states of the Roman Empire, providing travel directions and estimates for the distances between them (in Chinese miles, li)." Maybe list a few, I realize that emesa and Nabataean Kingdom are listed, but maybe a few more, immediately after this sentence?
  • 9) "Both the Old Book of Tang and New Book of Tang record that the Arabs (Da shi 大食) sent their commander "Mo-yi" (摩拽伐之, Pinyin: Mó zhuāi fá zhī, i.e. Muawiyah I, as governor of Syria before becoming the Umayyad caliph, r. 661–680) to besiege the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, and forced the Byzantines to pay them tribute." This is set out a bit weirdly, maybe the "i.e. Muawiyah I, as governor of Syria before becoming the Umayyad caliph, r. 661–680)" should be removed.
  • 10) in the previous thing when it says florus confused the seres with the indians, conflicts again with a quote saying "Nay, the Seres came likewise, and the Indians who dwelt beneath the vertical sun, bringing presents of precious stones and pearls and elephants, but thinking all of less moment than the vastness of the journey which they had undertaken, and which they said had occupied four years. In truth it needed but to look at their complexion to see that they were people of another world than ours."
  • 11) Those are my suggestions. Iazyges Consermonor Opus meum 22:51, 24 September 2016 (UTC)
Hi again. If you don't mind, I've taken the liberty of numbering your bullet points, so that they may correspond with my own, and to avoid confusion as I address each of your points. I found points 7 & 8 to be the most helpful and have amended the article accordingly. Yule was most certainly referring to English miles (i.e. Imperial unit of measure also used by the United States), not Roman ones. I've added kilometers as you've suggested. I've also provided a lengthy footnote listing all the dependent states identified by Hirth and Hill, respectively. I did not include the list in the paragraph itself, since that would have broken the narrative, especially when the example of Petra is already given to highlight their different views (which you've acknowledged). I also slightly amended the bit about Muawiyah I, although I did not remove it altogether for reasons stated below. As for your other points: Pericles of AthensTalk 01:24, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
  • 1) Your suggestion seems to be wordier than the original, when Wikipedia entries should use crisp, clear, concise language. There's nothing inherently wrong with the word "fuzzy"; it's a commonly used word (ala phrases such as "fuzzy logic" etc.) and is found in the Oxford English Dictionary, as well as the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
  • 2) "Direct contact" is preferable to "diplomacy" here because, as the article explains repeatedly, we are not sure if these were official diplomatic missions or simply bands of merchants who claimed to be representatives of their rulers.
  • 3) The word "landed" needs some sort of explanation? It's a commonly-used word in a maritime context (e.g. "the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock") and is adequately encyclopedic terminology. Someone with a firm grasp of English would understand this statement as meaning the Romans landed on the shores via sailing vessels. In fact, "landed" can only mean one other thing, exclusively in a modern context: landing an airplane. People trekking across the land do not "land" at a place where they arrive. You can, however, "land" on something by falling on it, like falling off a cliff and "landing" on top of something below, like a bed of rocks (for instance).
  • 4) I'm merely repeating Ostrovsky's interpretation of that passage by Florus. I slightly disagree with Ostrovsky, but my opinion doesn't matter; the only thing that matters is what the sources say (hence my cautious language of "seems" instead of using a firm, definitive statement). Your suggested solution is radically different from Ostrovsky's interpretation, and we are not allowed to twist the words of source material to come to a conclusion that we prefer. In fact, it lines up well with the introduction section by demonstrating the ambiguity around the identification of the "Seres" in Roman sources. I think you should discard this point entirely.
  • 5) Again, along with "fuzzy" mentioned above, there's really nothing wrong per se with the word "murky," another word that is used commonly enough and understood by English speakers. Your suggestion to use the phrase "their understanding of it was rather less" doesn't makes sense gramatically, either. The word "less" is a preposition and an adverb; it is only used as an adjective in completely archaic English, and even then it was rarely used that way. Saying "rather less" sounds awkward. What you're looking for here is another suitable comparative adjective, like "hazier" or "blurrier", yet "murkier" sounds even more appropriate than these.
  • 6) I've used the word "perhaps" here for a good reason, as a suggestive segue from the previous statement, since the source cited for that sentence does not mention the word "surprise" at all.
  • 9) As for this bit about Muawiyah I, I've reworded it a bit, but that part must absolutely stay in the article, otherwise it removes the context of the passage almost entirely, which is to demonstate that the Chinese sources knew the key figures in this conflict by name (hence proving that the passage is about the siege of Constantinople and not some other event).
  • 10) And again, this is a translation of a Latin passage that has been interpreted differently by Ostrovsky. Other reliable sources can be presented that may negate what Ostrovsky had to say, but his input shouldn't be discounted merely on the basis of another author's chosen translation (and your interpreation of that translation).
  • 11) Thank you for taking the time to review the article! I hope you enjoyed it. Pericles of AthensTalk 01:24, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
Instead of the word "fuzzy", as described above, I've decided to go with the word "limited", which basically conveys the same meaning in this context. Does that suit you? Pericles of AthensTalk 02:25, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
@PericlesofAthens: Sounds good.
  • I think the article as of now meets good status, @BlueMoonset: do you agree?
Iazyges, I'll need some concentrated time to look at it. There's a chance that will be later tonight, but it's more likely to be Wednesday. I'll get back to you as soon as possible. BlueMoonset (talk) 19:33, 27 September 2016 (UTC)
Hi BlueMoonset. Did you find any problems with the article? Iazyges seems content with the changes that I've made. Pericles of AthensTalk 00:22, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
PericlesofAthens, this is a very long article, and to properly review it I also need spotcheck some of the online sources, so it's taking me a while to work my way through. So far, so good, though the five-paragraph lead runs up against the MOS:LEAD requirement, which puts the max at four paragraphs. I'm not sure whether there's any flexibility in the criteria there; it's hard to see how the current paragraphs might combine, yet all of the information feels like it ought to be there. Be assured that I will report back once I've completed examining the article; I've been busier this week than I expected. BlueMoonset (talk) 00:41, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
BlueMoonset: thanks for the prompt response! I've gone ahead and combined the first two paragraphs in order to meet the MOS guidelines about the number of paragraphs to be found in the lead section. Do let me know if there are any other glaring issues or mistakes that can be easily fixed before you lay out any larger or more detailed concerns. Cheers. Pericles of AthensTalk 01:29, 30 September 2016 (UTC)
Hi again BlueMoonset. Life is hectic sometimes, that I can fully understand. Should I go ahead and contact another user to look through the article, though, if you're a bit too busy to comb through it? At the very least, Iazyges didn't find any major glaring flaws. Pericles of AthensTalk 10:40, 2 October 2016 (UTC)
PericlesofAthens, I would appreciate a bit more patience. To do a proper review, which includes delving into available sources, takes time, even when life isn't hectic (which it is, a bit, just now). You can certainly ask someone else to also look through it if you wish—more eyes never hurt—but I intend to make my way through the article nonetheless. Given that Iazyges is a new reviewer to GA who has taken on a very long and complex article and had issues in doing so, that no glaring flaws were found doesn't mean they don't exist, even if I'm not expecting to find any. Indeed, in what I've read so far, the article is very well written, and I haven't found any issues with the prose meeting the "clear and concise" criterion. However, one generally finds a few things here and there, which seems to be the case here.
Returning to the lead section, the section on "Da Qin" is more detailed in places than what is mentioned in the body of the article—"Da Qin" appears three times here, but only twice in the body, and the lead goes so far as to mention Pulleyblank, though he is not mentioned in the body. While I don't have direct access to the Pulleyblank source, one of your online sources ( quotes from it, and that quote, called Dà Qín, Great Qín, apparently thinking of it as a kind of counter-China at the other end of the world, is to my mind too close to the lead's unquoted text, known as "Da Qin", Great Qin, apparently thought to be a sort of counter-China at the other end of the world. I'd suggest quoting the original, which would probably necessitate mentioning Pulleyblank earlier, but if you decide to paraphrase further, then I'd certainly quote "counter-China" if that term is used. However, this level of detail should probably be in the body of the article; if you use "counter-China" in the lead, it should also be in the body.
I also have a question about orthography. "Fu lin" is almost invariably in italics, but "Da Qin" is not italicized. Why are they not treated the same—both in italics or both in (excuse the seeming pun) roman? Thanks again for your patience. BlueMoonset (talk) 17:34, 2 October 2016 (UTC)
BlueMoonset: Excellent points! I have addressed each one of them as you can now see in the article. I've moved the Pulleyblank material to the body of the article and wrapped quotes around the "counter-China" phrase that he used. Mind you, I was not the one who originally added that to the introduction, although I thought the quote too indispensible to remove. I wasn't too sure where to put it or explain it in the body beforehand, but I now believe it fits well with the geography section. As for the italicization of "Fu lin" versus "Daqin", I've decided to remove the italics around each and every instance of "Fu lin" in the article, so that it corresponds with how "Daqin" is treated. Thanks for getting back to me, and again, I realize how busy you must be. I offered the reminder about the article simply because I am not too busy now, but by the end of the month I'll be far too busy to edit Wikipedia in a heavily-focused or concentrated manner. I might be entirely inactive, actually. I've already alerted the copy-editors' guild about this article, so I don't know if there's much else I can do. Unfortunately, my old copy-editor pals (from my Wiki glory days of writing FAs almost a decade ago) seem to be rather inactive these days. In either case, thanks for bringing up these concerns. Cheers. Pericles of AthensTalk 18:23, 2 October 2016 (UTC)
PericlesofAthens, thanks for the updates. However, I'm afraid that simply quoting "counter-China" is not sufficient; the overly close paraphrasing is still intact. That sentence needs to put in your own words (aside from the quoted material), or the whole (not only "counter-China") must be quoted. I think you also might want to consider introducing Pulleyblank before that initial sentence, since it also comes from him and is his characterization. BlueMoonset (talk) 02:56, 4 October 2016 (UTC)
Good catch! I've reworded it significantly and attributed both statements to Pulleyblank. Pericles of AthensTalk 03:45, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Comments from BlueMoonset[edit]

General comments[edit]

As noted, the article is very well written. There are a few general issues that I believe need to be addressed.

  • Although this is not a specific requirement at the GA level, the article has a lot of wikilinks—there's a great deal of blue. While there are a lot of unfamiliar terms, there is also a significant amount of MOS:OVERLINK. A term or name should only be linked the first time it appears in the article, and, if that first time was in the lead, it can also be linked in its first appearance in the body as well. A few examples: "Daqin", "Wenxian Tongkao" and its author "Ma Duanlin", "Book of Later Han", and even "Syria". You'll want to remove duplicate links throughout. There are also links for very common terms, also frowned on: I removed one for "sea". Another consideration is whether the wikilink is truly relevant/useful. Finally, WP:LINKSTYLE notes that Items within quotations should not generally be linked, which is something you'll want to look out for.
  • The dating should be consistent. The article starts out with AD and BC, but later introduces CE and BCE. Please pick one pair and stick with it. See MOS:ERA; note that the one place where this consistency should not be enforced is within a quote, which should be left unchanged.

Embassies and travels[edit]

  • In the Embassy to Augustus subsection, the middle of the Yule paragraph abruptly switches from the first century to a millennium later. The material in the latter half does not belong here; it has nothing to do with the Augustus visit, and chronologically leapfrogs ahead of this material and the next several subsections. It needs to go elsewhere, perhaps with the rest of the Ma Duanlin material (a construction like "As will be shown below" should be avoided in an article). I did have a question about the second sentence in Yule: the word "mused" seems odd to me and not appropriate for an encylopedic article: "speculated" or "theorized" seems more accurate.
  • Henry Yule's full name is given three times in the article, and each time it is wikilinked. Normally, I'd suggest using his last name on subsequent introductions, but "Yule" alone has another meaning, so I'd only do this when the names are in close proximity.
  • In the Envoy Gan Ying subsection, Haixi is defined twice. I'd recommend combining the two at its first mention, perhaps giving the general meaning and then the literal one.
  • In the First Roman embassy subsection, I've done some minor edits. I think the phrase "lobbed at" is too informal for an encylopedic article; please reword.

Trade Relations[edit]

  • In the first Roman exports to China paragraph, you start out in BC[E], and later give a date of 166. I'd specify AD/CE for 166, and be careful to ensure, throughout this section, that any possibly ambiguous date is given its era. For example, the fourth paragraph talks about "by the 2nd-century", which is probably AD/CE, but could be BC[E]. Better to specify.
  • In the final Asian silk in the Roman Empire paragraph, the first sentence reads as if Pliny the Elder's claim also includes "much of Rome's coinage…", and I think these are two separate things. You will want to rephrase this (perhaps simply by reversing the two factors).
  • In the first Archaeology paragraph of the Roman and Byzantine currency discovered in China subsection, I don't think "scanty amount of" is a good phrasing (try "few" if appropriate, or "small number of" if too many for "few"), and its link to "Circulation (currency)" is not a useful one and should be deleted. Also, I believe that "mid" in constructions like "mid 2nd century" always requires a hyphen (you'd want hyphens between both words here).
  • In the final Hypothetical military conflict paragraph, Matthew's Greek Hoplites article needs to be turned into a proper inline reference and added to the end of the paragraph.

That's all I noticed in this check. I haven't yet had time to do a spotcheck of the individual online sources, which I still hope to do. Thank you very much for your patience. BlueMoonset (talk) 17:42, 9 October 2016 (UTC)

Response by PericlesofAthens[edit]

Hi BlueMoonset! Thanks for spending your time to carefully review this article. I have attempted to address each of your bulleted points, as you can now see in the article, although there are a couple of these points that I find objectionable.

  • I have only slightly reworded the bit about Pliny the Elder (turning "claim" into "claims" plural), because I think you've gotten confused here about what Pliny has said. Perhaps you missed the mentioning above about 100 million sesterces, a specifically-cited figure by Pliny. He did not mince his words; he was clearly speaking about coinage. To avoid ambiguity, I have mentioned the 100 million sesterces outside of the (first) quotation as well (and provided a link to "sesterces" outside of the quotation), to make it emphatically clear that Pliny was referring to coinage.
  • Although the article does suffer from some overlinking, which I have started to address in earnest, I can't express how much I detest this guideline, which I consider to be immenseley short-sighted. Wikipedia is a living encyclopedia, in that anyone can just come along and reword and rework anything that's been written before. I have witnessed dozens of articles (yes, even GAs) where passages have been altered significantly and in these moments editors often fail to provide links for what has been refashioned. Having only one link for an item in the entire article means the link can often go missing for months if not years on end without anyone noticing. These are sometimes incredibly vital links, critical for navigation and readers' understanding of terms used in the article. I'm willing to link specific items only once for each major section; I think it is entirely reasonable that each item may be linked once in every major section to follow. I am not very good at spotting these, so I'm going to need some help with that beyond the GA review (I've alerted the guild of copyeditors, which have thus far been very helpful to my article on Sogdia, so I'm sure they'll address the same concerns here).

Aside from these, I have conformed the dating convention to BC/AD only, moved the material about Ma Duanlin down to its appropriate sub-section as you requested, defined "Haixi" only once per your advice, removed any and all links found within block quotes, reworded items like "mused", "lobbed," and "scanty" as you suggested, hyphenated "mid-2nd-century AD", and fixed Matthew's inline citation. The article is looking very polished as a result! Again, thanks for critiquing the article and pointing out these various flaws, which I probably wouldn't have spotted otherwise. Pericles of AthensTalk 23:02, 9 October 2016 (UTC)

You're welcome, PericlesofAthens. There is just one thing that wasn't done, the Matthew Hoplite citation. While you moved the inline source citation of his bio to the end of the paragraph, that bio has no information on what the article contains and cannot support the facts given in that paragraph. What needs to be done is to take the actual title and journal of the article that he wrote, turn it into an inline source citation, and put that at the end of the paragraph. Otherwise, this looks great, and I'm very happy with the work you've done. Once this makes GA, you might want to consider a peer review to see whether this is ready to make a run at the Featured Article process. (I've never written an FA myself, so I'm not very familiar with the how the standards are judged.) BlueMoonset (talk) 00:35, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
I don't have access to his work, so I've decided to remove his claim altogether. It's a fringe theory within a fringe theory anyway. Pericles of AthensTalk 01:18, 10 October 2016 (UTC)
Is this review still active? Pericles of AthensTalk 04:24, 18 October 2016 (UTC)
Hi BlueMoonset. Have you had a chance to cross-check the references? Pericles of AthensTalk 23:13, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
User:BlueMoonset: could you please respond? I appreciate the input you've provided so far, but I feel as though you've placed this article review on the "back-burner", so to speak, for over two weeks now. As far as GA candidacies go, I think I've been rather patient with this one. If you remain unresponsive for another whole week, no offense, but I think that I would then request someone else to review this GA candidate. Pericles of AthensTalk 19:19, 25 October 2016 (UTC)
PericlesofAthens, I have to apologize. I have been unable to carve out sufficient time to check references, and when I picked a likely one to start my spot-check—FN9, the Hirth 2000 [1885] one from Fordham with 36 citations—I realized it would take far more time than I am prepared to spend on an article I hadn't intended to review in the first place. I am therefore putting in a request for a second opinion, since I am more convinced than ever that Iazyges has neither the experience nor the wherewithal to properly conduct a GA review to the required depth. I'm also sorry that this means you will likely have to wait a while longer, but at this point I cannot approve the article without doing the sources check. (If you would prefer, I can instead put this back in the pool of articles needing a reviewer without loss of seniority.) BlueMoonset (talk) 03:24, 27 October 2016 (UTC)
Hmm. Okay. The Hirth source is available online, though, in the link provided for that source. The other sources are perhaps also available on Google Books. Nevertheless, if you don't feel up to the task, feel free to put this article back into the pool for other reviewers to tackle. Thanks for the input you've provided thus far; it has certainly led to noticeable improvements of the article. Regards. Pericles of AthensTalk 07:12, 27 October 2016 (UTC)

GA review redux[edit]

Hi User:PericlesofAthens, I've accepted your request for a 2nd opinion. Look forward to working with you. I've got a reasonable background knowledge, but this is my first GA rodeo, so feel free to give me tactful hints when necessary. NPalgan2 (talk) 05:24, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

GA review (see here for what the criteria are, and here for what they are not)
  1. It is reasonably well written.
    a (prose, spelling, and grammar): b (MoS for lead, layout, word choice, fiction, and lists):
  2. It is factually accurate and verifiable.
    a (reference section): b (citations to reliable sources): c (OR): d (copyvio and plagiarism):
  3. It is broad in its coverage.
    a (major aspects): b (focused):
  4. It follows the neutral point of view policy.
    Fair representation without bias:
  5. It is stable.
    No edit wars, etc.:
  6. It is illustrated by images and other media, where possible and appropriate.
    a (images are tagged and non-free content have fair use rationales): b (appropriate use with suitable captions):
  7. Overall:


That's great! Thank you, NPalgan2, for taking the time to review this article. I'll wait patiently for your input. Cheers. Pericles of AthensTalk 07:43, 6 December 2016 (UTC)

Very preliminary impressions[edit]

  • User:PericlesofAthens This article is obviously very impressive, but it should state its scope unambiguously and early on. When an article has such a large scope it’s very hard to summarize it well in the lead. I thought I was reading an article on 'relations between the Western Roman Empire and China during the Han and Jin’ for some time. (The first paragraph of the lead really gives that impression.)
  • It feels artificial after a certain point to just focus on Byzantines in China, especially once you reach the Yuan. Article split/merge? I feel that Graeco-Roman geographers’ knowledge of the Far East and vice versa could be hived off into separate articles with a great increase in readability.
  • From lead: "kept the two Eurasian flanking powers” - the phrasing from the map, "occupied the opposite ends of Eurasia, with the Parthian Empire and Kushan Empire in between” seems much better, 'flanking' is unclear unless you know what was being meant anyway
  • References should be moved out of lead.
  • You say "powerful intermediate empires such as the Parthians and Kushans kept the two Eurasian flanking powers permanently apart”. I wondered if your intended meaning was “prevented the territorial expansion of the two empires from joining up” until later in the article. The lead should explain that maintaining control the silk trade was the motive for Parthian and Kushan impeding Sino-Roman relations as it's an important point.
  • From lead: "but Gan was dissuaded by Parthian authorities from venturing beyond the Persian Gulf.” From body " Mesopotamia, then under the control of the Parthian Empire. While he intended to sail to the Roman Empire, he was discouraged when told that the dangerous trip could take up to two years.“ The Hou Hanshu says it was sailors who told him this, not authorities. See here for an interesting theory (don’t know if you saw this):
  • Inconsistency, even outside of quoted text between Fu-lin and Fu lin and Da Qin and Daqin, use and non-use of hyphens - why Mo-yi and not Moyi, etc?
  • Just as an aside, is there any convention in the scholarly literature about tone marks in transcriptions of ancient material? Sometimes I see Da Qin, sometimes Da4 Qin2. NPalgan2 (talk) 08:35, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
Also see 137-8 here. 'conjectured'? NPalgan2 (talk) 09:32, 7 December 2016 (UTC)

Second Reply[edit]

Hi NPalgan2! Thank you for bringing these points into consideration.

  • I have edited the article accordingly, making the naming conventions for "Daqin" and "Fulin" fully consistent throughout the article.
  • I've removed most of the citations from the lead except for those with direct quotes, or at the least single quoted words, which I'm afraid are going to need citations regardless of being in the lead section (those are the rules).
PericlesofAthens I'm pretty sure the quotation marks around "Seres" et al. are unnecessary, as they aren't quotations in any real sense. LEADCITE requires us to source a quotation in the lead to properly cite someone's opinion, but sourcing "Seres" to Schoff doesn't add anything. NPalgan2 (talk) 06:10, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I've reworded that problematic sentence in the first paragraph of the lead that you've brought to my attention.
  • The tone marks are handled in the separate article for Daqin and elsewhere in the article with a single instance of tonal Pinyin where necessary. Beyond that we do not need any special attention for tonal marks. This is the English Wikipedia, after all, and considerations about Mandarin pronunciation aren't that relevant. In fact, they're highly irrelevant considering how Mandarin did not exist as a language during the Han and Roman period. The Old Chinese dialects were quite different, and so were those of Middle Chinese. Mandarin didn't develop until the last two centuries of the contemporaneous Eastern Roman Empire (i.e. Byzantine Empire).
That was what I expected, I just noticed Pulleybank was doing Da4Qin2 throughout which, seemed odd as, as you you say, modern Mandarin pronunciation so different. NPalgan2 (talk) 06:10, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
  • Speaking of which, I hotly contest in the absolute strongest terms any suggestion to split material from the article based solely on the idea that the Byzantine Empire doesn't seem "Roman" enough to you as a reviewer. This might be your subjective opinion, but it is not fit for an encyclopedia where the Byzantine Empire is defined as the Eastern Roman Empire. There was no difference, historically speaking, and the mere conception of a "Byzantine Empire" that is separate from the Roman legacy is a later 19th-century invention and anachronistic distortion. In sum, the "Byzantines" considered themselves to be Roman, continued to dole out Roman citizenship, and maintained Roman traditions, laws, customs, etc., despite the territorial losses over the centuries. This article is also no place for a contrarian debate on that subject.
I was unclear - I was not suggesting that the Byzantines weren't Roman, just noting that by the Yuan dynasty there were so many Europeans in China that splitting out the Byzantines among them into a separate article seemed odd instead of having them in the other Europeans in Medieval China article. I'd still suggest considering having a separate article just on relations with the Western Roman Empire, especially as there was so long between Wu of Jin and the 'Fulin' embassies of the Tang. NPalgan2 (talk) 06:10, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
  • The "Byzantines" are mentioned in the first paragraph of the lead: "Others are recorded as arriving in 226 and 284 AD, with a long absence until the first recorded Byzantine embassy in 643 AD." Also, the last two paragraphs of the lead discuss the Eastern Romans. To be frank, I don't think the article is unwieldy or unreasonably large at this point to warrant splitting such material, especially since there is no valid basis for splitting material based on it being "Byzantine" or not.
There's WP:TOOBIG to consider which others will be sure mention if you go for FA at over 100k. NPalgan2 (talk) 06:10, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
  • As for Greco-Roman knowledge of Chinese geography being placed in a separate article, that's an interesting suggestion, although I'm not highly convinced that that sub-section is too unwieldy either. The article "Daqin" goes into some detail about the Chinese knowledge of Western/Mediterranean geography. I'm not entirely sure what title I'd give to an article about Rome's knowledge of Chinese geography. It's a much more arcane topic than Sino-Roman relations as a whole, and I'm afraid that creating such an article and diverting all that material over there would be a near total waste in terms of limited viewership. As it stands now this article doesn't get much attention. I'd imagine no more than two or three measly views a day for an article with a convoluted title like "Ancient Roman geographical musing and knowledge of China during its Eastern Han period." Besides, the article "Serica" should be fairly sufficient for that purpose, albeit discussing a rather different set of topics than the sub-section in question.Pericles of AthensTalk 10:00, 7 December 2016 (UTC)
I do feel the article is unwieldy. The section on the sailor Alexandros's travels in Burma and Vietnam, Maes Titanus who went as far as Kashgar, this is not just China but half of Asia, and there's no indication of such material in the lead paragraph. Roman knowledge of the Far East could be a good article. NPalgan2 (talk) 06:10, 8 December 2016 (UTC)

Third Reply[edit]

  • Fair enough. I've now removed all citations from the lead section and moved them into the body of the article where appropriate. I had to add a sentence or two in order to achieve this, though.
  • It is not unusual for several Wikipedia articles to cover the same sub-topics. For instance, just because we have an article on Valley Forge does not mean we should eliminate that similarly-named section from the page on George Washington. Sometimes gutting things from Wikipedia articles does not improve them, especially since it rips much of the context away from the article. It is perfectly acceptable for Europeans in Medieval China to discuss the Byzantines, even though that's not the main focus of that article. Meanwhile, the Byzantines can also be simultaneously covered here in Sino-Roman relations, because we're still talking about Romans (notice how this article does not meander into a discussion about Europeans more generally, aside from a couple passing references and a few links to Europeans in Medieval China). Besides, the Fulin section has about five paragraphs (minus the block quote). That's not inordinate in size if we observe any given Wikipedia article, especially given the central importance of the diplomatic travels. That's kind of the whole point of this article.
  • Also, I'm not sure why you brought up the Western Roman Empire (WRE), which wasn't established until the tail-end of the 3rd century AD and even then didn't become permanently split until 395 AD with the death of Theodosius I, who ruled over both the eastern and western halves of the empire. I'm also unaware of any instance where the WRE conducted direct relations with any dynasty of China; I'm really perplexed as to why you brought this up. Were you trying to refer to the previously united Roman Empire?
  • If there were to be an article on the subject of Roman geographical knowledge about China at all, I wouldn't use the term "Far East"..."East Asia" is more geographically apt and betrays less of a cultural bias/obvious Western perspective. Even then it's kind of a misnomer, because I went to some length carefully explaining how the Romans did not have a definitive geographical knowledge of Asia, conflating huge swaths of it with one region or another, and falsely believing that China was two countries instead of one (although that was a political reality for quite some time during the period of division between the Jin and Sui dynasties). I'd steer clear from making such a split article for multiple reasons, one of them being the trouble of titling such an article and another being the legitimacy of splitting the material in the first place. As it stands now, Serica does a fairly good job of supplementing the information found in this article. If people want to know more about Roman geographical knowledge of the East, then they can visit that article or others that are linked such as Magnus Sinus. Besides, creating an article that is almost identical to Serica, but merely with a different title and a few superficial differences, is in violation of Wikipedia:Content forking.
  • When and if the present article gets to the size of 100k then we can certainly have that discussion, perhaps in a future FA candidate review. However, I have no plans for expanding this article and to be frank about it, there's not much more to add aside from semi-relevant news blurbs like the skeletons in Roman London thing (I was reluctant at first even to add that; in fact, someone else did and I didn't see the need to remove it).
  • Perhaps Maes Titianus does not deserve his own sub-section and can instead be mentioned in a little blurb somewhere; his absence in the lead section is a very valid point. I'll remove the sub-section and move some of that material elsewhere. However, I thought it was fairly clear why the sailor Alexandros was mentioned several times in the article. This is clearly directly related to the maritime trade between Greco-Romans and Han Chinese the preceded the first alleged diplomatic encounter. You're also thinking too much in terms of modern borders. Half of Vietnam was under the control of the Han Empire, and it is in this region that the Chinese histories explicitly state the Romans first landed in order to trade. It is simply imperative to include the information about Alexandros and to mention him where he is relevant (i.e. the geography and trade relations sections, respectively). Pericles of AthensTalk 10:28, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
Just to update things for you, I have gone ahead and removed the section on Maes Titianus, shifting some of the material to a different section. Pericles of AthensTalk 14:36, 8 December 2016 (UTC)
Great. Perhaps clarify what is meant by 'relations'? After all, sometimes Wikipedia:You do need to cite that the sky is blue. Note that Blue and Sky both do this. Something like: "Sino-Roman relations refers to the flow of artifacts, rumors and occasional travelers that occurred between China and the Roman Empire, starting in the Han Dynasty with … and by the of by the fall of Constantinople many foreign devils..." That would be enough nitpicking and I can get on to just checking the article. NPalgan2 (talk) 05:20, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
One other suggestion: change the two images in the lead - as the article is going to cover right up to 1453, having one picture mentioning the Han dynasty and the other the trade routes of the 1st century BC is misleading as to scope. NPalgan2 (talk) 05:39, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
I have edited the lead paragraph once more to reflect your recent suggestion (a very good one I might add). However, the map thing is a bit trickier. It's pretty difficult to find decent maps on Wikimedia. They're not always available. Hunting for them usually takes a while. I'll give it a shot, but I don't think I'm going to find something more useful than the maps already found in the lead. They do pertain to Antiquity and don't cover the Middle Ages, unfortunately, but they are of good quality and quite informative. We're lucky to have them at all. Hopefully there's something that can be added. If so I'll shift one of the current maps down to the body of the article, because I would hate to lose either one of them. Pericles of AthensTalk 20:05, 9 December 2016 (UTC)
Done some minor copy editing, feel free to revert anything. "While Syrian jugglers were renowned in Western Classical literature, Chinese sources from the 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD mention them as well.[72]" (Maybe mention the name Li-Kan again, and further support Bell's claim with ? NPalgan2 (talk) 10:19, 10 December 2016 (UTC)
  • "Richthofen's identification of Cattigara as Hanoi was widely accepted until archaeological discoveries made at Óc Eo (near Ho Chi Minh City) in the Mekong Delta suggested that site may have been its location.[117] At the formerly coastal site of Óc Eo, Roman coins were among the vestiges of long-distance trade discovered by the French archaeologist Louis Malleret in the 1940s.[114] These include Roman golden medallions from the reign of Antoninus Pius and his successor Marcus Aurelius as well.[4][118] In regards to latitude corresponding with Ptolemy's account, Granville Allen Mawer mentions Óc Eo, where Roman goods and native jewelry imitating Antonine Roman coins have been found, as a possible location for Cattigara.[11] However, he also mentions Kauthara (in Khánh Hòa Province, Vietnam) and Kutaradja (Banda Aceh, Indonesia) as other plausible sites for that port city.[11]" This needs editing. NPalgan2 (talk) 10:25, 10 December 2016 (UTC)
  • "Chinese histories for the Tang dynasty (618–907 AD) record contacts with merchants from "Fulin" (拂菻), the new name used to designate the Byzantine Empire, the continuation of the Roman Empire in the east.[25][84] During the 19th century Hirth and Yule identified Fulin as the Byzantine Empire.[25][84][85] " Maybe mention the eis-ten-polin derivation? NPalgan2 (talk) 10:28, 10 December 2016 (UTC)
  • "since Roman products like glass were valued as exotic items yet glass was also produced locally, even in China.[121][125] In fact, locally produced Chinese glasswares date back to the Western Han era (202 BC – 9 AD).[128] " Edit this down maybe? Why is the precise date when glassmaking began necessary? And "locally, even in China"? NPalgan2 (talk) 10:31, 10 December 2016 (UTC)
  • "Yule mentions how in the early 3rd century AD a ruler of Daqin sent an envoy with gifts to the northern Chinese court of Cao Wei (220–265 AD) that included glasswares of various colors.[82] Several years later a Daqin craftsman is mentioned as showing the Chinese how to make "flints into crystal by means of fire," which the Chinese noted with positive feedback." Edit for style again? Also, the Roman craze for silk is interesting, but maybe Seneca's denunciations and some of the other material could be moved to History_of_silk? NPalgan2 (talk) 10:35, 10 December 2016 (UTC)
  • "While observing that the Romans had a nominum emporion (i.e. recognized trading port) in Southeast Asia, Dougald O'Reilly claims that there is little evidence to suggest Cattigara was Oc Eo, the Roman items found there being indicative at least of the Indian Ocean trade network extending to the ancient Kingdom of Funan.[118] He lists the other Roman items found there as being glass beads and bracelets.[118]" Editing here again. And "nominum emporion"? Insert link to emporium (antiquity)? And, um, sir, sir, I'm sorry, sir, but I don't get what the nominum is?
  • I think that if the article is going to say Cattigara was probably Oc Eo, all debate over the other identifications should be put immediately after the first mention in the article body or put in a footnote. NPalgan2 (talk) 11:13, 10 December 2016 (UTC)
    • NPalgan2: I have cited Braun (2002) in further support about the claim of Roman-Syrian jugglers in Western Classical literature (since Braun quotes Juvenal on this issue and elaborates the extent to which they were well-known throughout the empire). Thanks for pointing out this source.
    • I reverted only two of your edits, the first because you are not allowed to place links directly inside a block quotation (see Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Linking#General principles), and the second because you removed the capital "E" in Parthian Empire. While you are generally correct about the other instances of capitalization, "Parthian Empire" is a proper place name and title for that historical country. Notice how this capitalization is consistent with the titles for other empires in the article (e.g. "Roman Empire," "Han Empire," "Kushan Empire").
    • I have edited the "Roman exports to China" section to fix some of those sloppy, broken sentences. I have also moved the mention of the other possible sites for Cattigara right after the first mention of Oc Eo in that section. Keep in mind those are sites suggested by Mawer (2013); they do not necessarily reflect scholarly consensus. Most authors I've read concur that Oc Eo is the most likely site for the port described by Ptolemy.
      • Perhaps then put the other sites for Cattigara in a footnote if most scholars accept Oc Eo? I disrupts the flow of the article. NPalgan2 (talk) 01:58, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
    • "Maybe mention the eis-ten-polin derivation?" I'm sorry, I do not follow. Are you trying to say that, etymologically, Chinese "Fulin" (拂菻) is derived from "Constantinople"?
      • I saw something suggesting that, like eis-ten-polin=Istanbul, polin=Fulin. NPalgan2 (talk) 01:58, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
    • I have edited the two sentences about Chinese-produced glasswares.
    • I have edited the sentence about the possible Roman glassware blowers in China.
      • Still needs editing I think - "Trade items such as spice and silk had to be paid for with Roman gold coinage, since Roman products like glass were valued as exotic items, yet glass was also produced locally in China" may be change to "Trade items such as spice and silk had to be paid for with Roman gold coinage, but although there was some demand in Chinafor Roman glass, glass was also produced locally in China ..." and shift that discussion of the trade balance up to the Pliny quote instead of wheeling back to the subject after the seneca quote. NPalgan2 (talk) 01:58, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
    • I'm not sure why you want to remove material about silk in the Roman Empire. It was the most important commercial item produced in China that was purchased in the Roman Empire.
      • Yes, but perhaps a sentence or so saying silk was so highly valued it caused a trade imbalance is sufficient in *this* article. For comparison, I'm sure that a future encyclopedia about Sino-American trade relations might note that Americans imported lots of iPhones but not an American complaining iPhones caused social anomie like the Seneca quote. NPalgan2 (talk) 01:58, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
    • "Nominum emporion." Hah! Don't look at me. I'm simply quoting Dougald O'Reilly here, who cites a certain Miksic (2003). In either case it is superfluous to keep the Latin phrase here while the English phrase "recognized trading port" can suffice. I've also reworded those two sentences, which I admit are rather awkward. Pericles of AthensTalk 17:31, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

Fourth reply[edit]

  • Hi User:NPalgan2! As you've requested, I've shifted the discussion about other sites for Cattigara into a footnote. I've also added a new dual footnote system to separate lengthy footnotes from the shorter, regular ref notes.
  • In the Chinese section for the article Names of Istanbul it does not cover the "Fulin" connection to eis-ten-polin/Constantinople, starting only with terminology that existed since the Ming dynasty. Perhaps you remember the source you recently read that has this information? It's not that big a deal, though, and certainly shouldn't effect the outcome of the GA process. I am slightly curious about this possible etymological derivation, though.
An article of Hirth's: Not that big a deal, but interesting. (However I see someone else casting doubt on this: ) NPalgan2 (talk) 19:57, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
I much prefer the description offered by Samuel N.C. Lieu than that of Hirth, who is a pretty outdated source despite retaining general reliability. I might add this discussion about etymology in the article Daqin, although I think it's perhaps unnecessary to elaborate here in this article about the origins of that historical title for the Eastern Roman Empire. Given their strong diplomatic and trade relationship, to say nothing of the various Persian-speaking peoples who lived in Imperial China, it makes perfect sense that the Chinese would borrow the Persian/Bactrian/Sogdian word for the Roman Empire. Pericles of AthensTalk 22:20, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
User:NPalgan2: check out the new section Daqin#Etymology in that Wiki article, where I've provided an explanation for the possible origins of the term Fulin. Perhaps I'll even link Fulin to that section, although I'm wary of doing so, since I want to keep the Chinese written characters for it in this article as well. I don't exactly want to give readers the impression that Fulin has its own article yet. Pericles of AthensTalk 02:00, 12 December 2016 (UTC)
  • I have edited the silk trade sub-section as you've requested, rewording the problematic sentence and shifting another up towards the previous paragraph (i.e. the one just before the quote from Seneca). I think it's a marked improvement in terms of how that sub-section now flows from one paragraph to the next. Good catch.
  • "Sino-American trade relations might note that Americans imported lots of iPhones" I see the analogy you're trying to make here, but I'm still not convinced. When most readers visit this article they're going to expect some sort of discussion about silk, thanks to the legacy of the Silk Road (which the humorously cantankerous Warwick Ball refutes, yet he also makes a poignant observation that the spice trade with India had a much greater impact on the Roman economy). I don't think silk is comparable in the same way that the modern-day (American) iPhone is comparable, for starters. The Chinese had a virtual monopoly on silk until the Byzantines smuggled silk worm eggs in the 6th century. That means for six entire centuries (from c. 50 BC) the Chinese benefited wholesale from the silk trade that spanned all the way to Europe. Besides, that sub-section isn't too wordy or huge. It's significantly smaller than the previous sub-section about Roman exports to China. I don't think I'm giving that particular sub-section any WP:Undue weight in comparison to other topics covered in the article. In fact, given the prominence of this topic among academics and WP:Reliable sources when they discuss the relationship between ancient Rome and Han China, one could even argue that I'm considerably downplaying the subject in this article. The largely indirect Sino-Roman relationship wasn't defined by competition or conflict over territory and vassals like Rome's relationship with neighboring Parthia; it was built on trade, the cornerstone of which was the silk trade. To overlook this or gut it from the article would be unacceptable, I think.Pericles of AthensTalk 17:41, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
Ok, we'll leave it in. NPalgan2 (talk) 19:57, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
NPalgan2: hi Palgan. It's been over a week since we last discussed this article. Are you still actively reviewing the article? Is there any other major item to critique or do you consider the review to be near the finish line? Pericles of AthensTalk 19:43, 19 December 2016 (UTC)
Dear NPalgan2: it has now been over two weeks since you last responded here. Should I be concerned with the progress of this review? This article already had a bump in the road when User:BlueMoonset decided that he did not have sufficient time or interest in this article to pursue the GA review. Do you have plans to finish this review or are you also relieving yourself from that duty? So far there have been two other reviewers who have essentially come and given their approval of the article. From my previous experience with GA's this has to be the longest candidate I've ever kept open and with the most reviewers I've ever seen, to the point where a few more would make it seem like an FA candidacy process instead. Can we please move this along? I was not expecting this to go past the New Year into 2017. Pericles of AthensTalk 13:14, 26 December 2016 (UTC)
Well, this is the last day of 2016. I've had this review open since September and thus far four people have reviewed it, with two of them passing it, another abstaining, and another now totally unresponsive. Could those moderating Wikipedia:Good article nominations please do something about this? NPalgan2 is apparently inactive on Wikipedia now. Pericles of AthensTalk 14:07, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

Another GA review[edit]

This is my first time conducting a GA review but I know the criteria. Feel free to correct me if I've messed anything up.

Verdict: GA quality achieved (image copyright, which I didn't check thoroughly, excluded).

1. Well written? Yes. I don't see any spelling or grammar errors. I also don't see any other types of typo or writing error such as incorrect capitalization or spaces before commas.

Item to discuss: in "The final recorded embassy arrived in 1091", 1091 is not followed by AD or BC whereas every other date in the article is.

Item to discuss: In a caption, Tashkurgan is described as being "the doorstep to China". Is "doorstep" the right word here, or would "customary entry point" be better?

Item to discuss: In the caption of the first map, there is written (amongst other info) "attributed to del Chierico". I think his forename should be given as well.

Item to discuss: In the caption to Ptolemy's 11th Asian regional map, should those semicolons be there or should they be commas?

2. Verifiable? Unsure, probably yes

Every assertion in the body of the article has a citation. However, there are some that are just author surnames, dates and page numbers. I don't know if that's considered verifiable for a published paper or if a source title is needed. I suspect that these citations are considered verifiable.

3. Broad in its coverage? Yes

a. It covers everything relevant? Yes

b. It stays on topic? Yes

4. Neutral? Yes

There's a few examples in the article of a point of view being immediately contrasted with an opposing point of view.

5. Stable? Yes Info is being moved around in a minor way due to responses to the GA reviews. That's fine. There is no edit warring.

6. Illustrated? Yes

a. Legal copyright status? Unsure To be honest, I'm not going to check every image. I checked three and the copyright looked fine on them.

b. All images are relevant with suitable captions? Yes

One more comment that isn't part of the GA criteria and therefore won't obstruct getting the GA status: I notice that no Chinese spelling is supplied for Daqin. There's one supplied on the Daqin article, though, as I'm sure you know. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Mochicat (talkcontribs) 02:36, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

Thank you kindly for this review, Mochicat! I have reworded the image captions as you've requested. I also added an "AD" after that one instance of "1091"; good catch! Del Chierico's full name is rather long, so I decided to add only his given name, Francesco. As for the inline citations with the author's surname, year, and page number, the full reference information for these sources are found in the "references" section just below "footnotes" at the bottom of the article. ;) You'll find that roughly half of Wikipedia articles follow this format, although some editors choose to write out the full reference information in a "notes" section, essentially combining the footnotes and bibliography sections into one. In either case thank you for taking the time to review this article. Cheers! Pericles of AthensTalk 16:35, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

Everything had been addressed by the multiple reviewers at this point, and there don't appear to be any hiccups. Since people keep leaving before wrapping up the review, I'll just close this one myself. The level of detail in this review was both impressive and a little bit overkill, all things considered. Wizardman 14:23, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

Thank you kindly, User:Wizardman! I'm so glad that it is finally over. Have a Happy New Year! Pericles of AthensTalk 14:30, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

Possibly Chinese skeletons found in Roman cemetery[edit]

See[7] and [8] - which emphasises the 'possible'. Doug Weller talk 18:17, 25 September 2016 (UTC)

Yeah. I know. I just cited Killgrove's article. And we already have a section about this above. Pericles of AthensTalk 18:24, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
Too much haste on my part, sorry. Doug Weller talk 18:29, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
No worries. I'm sure others will create more talk-page sections about this in the near future, since topics like this create a lot of momentary buzz. However, the discussion about specific findings in the research are less sexy than sensational headlines. In either case the article should limit this to the smallest blurb possible. Any expansions should probably be curbed until a thorough DNA analysis is provided and then confirmed by several different scientific journals. Pericles of AthensTalk 18:46, 25 September 2016 (UTC)
Sure. Doug Weller talk 19:30, 25 September 2016 (UTC)


Illustration of Byzantine embassy to Tang Taizong in 643 CE.

Here's an old illustration of the Byzantine embassy to Tang Taizong in 643 CE. Feel free to use it in the article if needed. 神风 (talk) 12:20, 8 November 2016 (UTC)

Fantastic. I'll see if I can make room for it. Pericles of AthensTalk 23:37, 8 November 2016 (UTC)

Featured article candidacy[edit]

After much work and a laborious but successful GA candidacy process, I've decided that this article is in good enough condition for a Featured article candidacy. If you have any suggestions about how to improve the article, speak now! Right here on the talk page. Or feel free even to go to the FA review page and offer your thoughts/support/objections there. Pericles of AthensTalk 15:45, 2 February 2017 (UTC)

Woo-hoo! The featured article nomination was successful! Thanks once again to everyone who reviewed the article. Pericles of AthensTalk 08:24, 1 April 2017 (UTC)


This early version of the article appears to use "colour" rather than "color". Was there a reason the spelling dialect was changed? --John (talk) 11:47, 17 April 2017 (UTC)

Hmm. I'm the chief editor of this article and I'm American, so perhaps I unconsciously choose American spelling conventions over British ones. Is it a pressing issue or just something in which you needed clarification? As it stands now the article seems fairly uniform in terms of choosing one spelling convention over another. --Pericles of AthensTalk 14:20, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
Well, per MOS:RETAIN we aren't supposed to change the dialect like this. --John (talk) 14:42, 17 April 2017 (UTC)
+1 to Pericles' comment. RETAIN is, in my view, enormously helpful when there's a dispute, which there isn't here. (I doubt Pericles intended to violate "An article should not be edited or renamed simply to switch from one variety of English to another" when rewriting the article.) I don't see a compelling reason to change it. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 05:41, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
I'm disputing it. --John (talk) 05:52, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
@The ed17: @John: first of all, greetings! I'm simply happy that someone actually cares about this article enough to nitpick it. I don't have any strong feelings about British versus American spelling conventions. I simply write articles using American spelling conventions because it comes natural to me and I don't give it a second thought. I didn't have some villainous intention about systematically changing spelling conventions; I honestly didn't notice until the issue was raised here. If you want to conduct a vote on the matter to reach consensus that's fine with me. I am far more concerned about content and sourcing than I am with formatting issues. --Pericles of AthensTalk 06:08, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
ENGVAR is not really a formatting issue. I accept your explanation. It would be too disruptive to change this while the article is TFA. This should really have been picked up at FAC; it's unfortunate that it was not. We can take care of it tomorrow. --John (talk) 10:43, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
I've fixed that. In doing so I noticed that the article is way overlinked. --John (talk) 06:26, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
I've fixed that too. --John (talk) 19:50, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Is there a reason why you expunged every instance of the word "although" from this article? Also, you're a bit too zealous in the removal of links from the prose body of the article. We are allowed to have one link to an article in the main prose body while still having the same link in the lead section, "further information" headers, and image captions. For instance, you removed every instance of a link for Europeans in Medieval China from the main prose body. Pericles of AthensTalk 19:53, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
FYI: footnotes do not count as being a part of the prose body either. I'm assuming that's why you removed the link for Europeans in Medieval China, for starters. Pericles of AthensTalk 19:58, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
  • "Although", "however" and "while" are words that were way over-used; it's a stylistic issue and I believe the article reads better with the same information conveyed in simple, neutral and unambiguous (consider "while John did the dishes, he also picked his nose") language. (It's a wonderful article, but honestly the prose could still do with polishing to meet FA criteria.) Re linking; tastes differ, but one (or two) links in prose, one in an image caption and one in footnotes and sources still gives the reader three or four opportunities to click the link, which I think most reviewers would regard as adequate. Thanks for your fine work in creating this and for your collegiate approach to the changes others have made. While we are discussing, did you notice one of the books referred to (Book of the Later Han) had two different titles, with and without "the"? I've standardised on the Wikipedia article title. Finally, would you have any objection to simplifying the reference syntax? --John (talk) 20:40, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Hi John. Thanks for the reply and for providing your reasoning here. I didn't notice the alternative title for Book of Later Han, although for sake or clarity we should use only one variant, with "the" in the title. As for simplifying the reference syntax, be my guest! I have absolutely no objections there. Kind regards, --Pericles of AthensTalk 21:36, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

Ref issues[edit]

  • What's up with the multiple locations? Only the first listed in the book is needed. We could also get rid of the ampersands wherever possible ("and" is more professional).
  • Hill, Through the Jade Gate to Rome is a WP:SPS (BookSurge).
  • I have doubts about APH Publishing being a reliable publisher per WP:QS? (Kumar, A History of Sino-Indian Relations)
  • Ref 151 - isn't reliable. Surely there's an academic source for this?
  • Also, the ref formatting is pretty weird. Why both BBC News and Huffington Post and The name of the news organization should suffice. I'e gone through and fixed most of these. Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 06:05, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
Huh. Good questions. I added most of the citatations and references in this article, but not all of them. I'll try to address these tomorrow when I am not inebriated and have overcome the inevitable hangover with lots of H20. Lol. Thanks for bringing these up, though! A featured article should meet certain standards, after all. Pericles of AthensTalk 06:11, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
@PericlesofAthens: No worries. Don't forget ibuprofen/aspirin. ;-) On the multiple locations, you'll see more for my reasoning on that over at Wikipedia:Featured article candidates/Macedonia (ancient kingdom)/archive1. Best, Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 07:11, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
@The ed17: hi again! Thanks for the hangover advice (lol), and thanks also for reviewing this article in addition to my featured article candidate (and current good article) Macedonia (ancient kingdom). I have tried my best to address the concerns you have for both articles. As for this one, I've removed the multiple publication locations and ampersands as you've requested. I have also replaced that inline citation for "" with a suitable academic reference from The Cambridge Ancient History series. I see what you mean about the BBC and Huffington Post. I was only able to find one other instance of this with "", which I changed to Forbes. As for John E. Hill's 2009 Through the Jade Gate to Rome, I had no idea that was from a self-published source. The other Hill sources that I used (2003 and 2004) were both published online by a credible academic institution, the University of Washington, so I just readily assumed his other tome was by an academic press. Goes to show that you have to trust but verify in each of these instances! It will be quite a headache trying to fix these, though, because there are eleven inline citations relying on Hill 2009. That's a lot of stuff to find replacement citations for, especially since I was not the one who added any of the Hill 2009 citations (although I did add the other Hill citations from the aforementioned academic source). I'll certainly remove Hill 2009 as you suggest, but I've devoted enough time to Wikipedia for one day. If someone else would be so kind as to fix this mess then I would be eternally grateful. --Pericles of AthensTalk 20:28, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
I think we are OK with Hill; the SPS is stocked by several university libraries and he is obviously something of an authority. Sarastro1 (talk) 21:08, 18 April 2017 (UTC)
@Sarastro1: @The ed17: Ah! I just read this bit in WP:SPS: "Self-published expert sources may be considered reliable when produced by an established expert on the subject matter, whose work in the relevant field has previously been published by reliable third-party publications." That would seem to include John E. Hill, who otherwise publishes similar works through academic presses and institutions like the University of Washington. That's a relief for me! I was earnestly going to hunt down a bunch of sources to replace his stuff. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to continue beefing up existing citations with more sources, though, just for the hell of it. Cheers, guys! --Pericles of AthensTalk 00:11, 19 April 2017 (UTC)
Ah, fair enough there. Still wouldn't be my preferred source, but it meets RS. :-) Thanks, Pericles! Ed [talk] [majestic titan] 03:00, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

BC/AD versus BCE/CE dating system[edit]

@Ecthelion83: hello. While I appreciate you introducing a new (properly sourced) map for the lead section, that and other changes to the article should have been brought up here for discussion first, before you edited the article. This is a featured article and as such it is held to higher standards and requires community consensus before drastic changes are made. Systematically changing the entire dating system used in the article falls under that category and is not merely a minor edit. Furthermore, you didn't even apply this rule consistently, leaving various instances of "CE" and "BCE" throughout the article that I then had to replace per the AD/BC system that you chose without consultation. I agree that the AD/BC system is preferable and CE/BCE beats around the bush, so to speak, but that doesn't give any editor the right to make such arbitrary changes to a featured article. Please refrain from editing the article any further unless it is a minor edit, and bring up topics for discussion here and seek community acceptance before you make another significant change. Pericles of AthensTalk 22:34, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Sorry about that - I missed the featured bit; I did try as much as possible to apply the BC/AD convention, but evidently I missed a few (not intentionally). Thanks for the heads-up; I'll be sure to be more careful when next I edit something.Ecthelion83 (talk) 00:10, 13 July 2017 (UTC)
I should have assumed it was just a mistake that you missed some of them. I'm going to sweep through the article one more time to see if there are any stragglers left. If you could do the same that would be much appreciated. It might seem like a small thing, but the very status of this article as a featured one depends not only the quality of the prose and sourcing, but also on seemingly minor details like punctuation or use of similar terms and spelling conventions throughout the article. I believe that some (now former) featured articles have even lost their status over such trivial things in follow-up peer reviews. --Pericles of AthensTalk 00:31, 13 July 2017 (UTC)

@Vortimer: could you and everyone else please refrain from making massive edits to this article, a Featured article (which is supposed to have higher standards and talk page discussions BEFORE sweeping changes are made). I also wouldn't have much of a problem with it if it weren't for the fact that yet again someone is not only changing the dating system, but is once again introducing inconsistencies by leaving behind instances of "BC/AD" after trying to switch everything back to BCE/CE. If you're going to make the claim that you've removed all instances of the former, then I shouldn't be able to spot so many that you clearly missed. Pericles of AthensTalk 23:45, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

Sorry about that -- I wasn't aware of the protocol for featured articles. Sorry also I didn't pick up every instance. But I am surprised at your statement (higher above) that BC/AD is better. The international scholarly convention is BCE/CE. Especially given that this is not an article about the (Christian) West, I would have thought it should reflect that. Vortimer (talk) 06:01, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
No worries. If you want to make significant changes to the article, then please build consensus here first. As for CE/BCE, I'll never understand why the academic community decided to essentially use the Christian dating system if they wanted to be secular and avoid associating it with religion and the (alleged, traditional) birth year of Jesus of Nazareth. Why not choose something utterly unrelated to Christianity, then? For instance, they could have gone with Ab urbe condita (i.e. the founding of Rome) or even the Greek Olympiad, choosing the first ancient Olympic Games as their start date. I'd have infinitely more respect if they chose one of those instead of simply mirroring the Christian dating system and glibly calling it something else. The argument that "well that's what everyone's already using" doesn't it cut it either, because that's a fallacious statement when considering the entire Islamic world uses a completely different dating system (i.e. the Islamic calendar), from the time of the first preaching of their prophet Muhammad (meaning that we are now in the year 1439 AH, according to their calendar). All of that being said and putting my personal opinion to the side, as far as Wikpedia is concerned BCE/CE is just as fine as using BC/AD and I've had no problems editing articles using the BCE/CE dating system, using it consistently when that precedent was already established. --Pericles of AthensTalk 12:39, 23 September 2017 (UTC)
Words have power. I speculate that the "BCE/CE" idea is a way to distance historical disciplines from the words "christ" and "domini" without having to do any maths. I'm sure there are better calendars, but none easier to those working in the historically christian-dominated European cultural sphere. Snuge purveyor (talk) 16:33, 23 September 2017 (UTC)